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I recently got married. My partner is unemployed. What changes do i need to make to my w4? Is he my dependent? 

2 Replies
Level 15


A spouse is never claimed as a dependent.   Instead you will want to file a joint return.


If you were legally married at the end of 2022 your filing choices are married filing jointly or married filing separately.

Married Filing Jointly is usually better, even if one spouse had little or no income. When you file a joint return, you and your spouse will get the married filing jointly standard deduction of $25,900 (+$1400 for each spouse 65 or older)  You are eligible for more credits including education credits, earned income credit, child and dependent care credit, and a larger income limit to receive the child tax credit. 


If you choose to file married filing separately, both spouses have to file the same way—either you both itemize or you both use standard deduction. Your tax rate will be higher than on a joint return. Some of the special rules for filing separately include: you cannot get earned income credit, education credits, adoption credits, or deductions for student loan interest. A higher percent of your Social Security benefits may be taxable. Your limit for SALT (state and local taxes and sales tax) will be only $5000 per spouse. In many cases you will not be able to take the child and dependent care credit. The amount you can contribute to a retirement account will be affected. If you live in a community property state, you will be required to provide additional information regarding your spouse’s income. ( Community property states:  AZ, CA, ID, LA, NV, NM, TX, WA, WI)

 If  you are using online TurboTax to prepare your returns, you will need to prepare two separate returns and pay twice.

**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**
Employee Tax Expert


Hello AnjieF91,


Congratulations on the marriage.


Your partner will not be your dependent but you will file your tax return as married filing joint instead of single, which will increase your standard deduction to $25,900 for 2022 instead of the standard deduction of $12,950 for single.


As far as the W-4, you can change it to withhold at the MFJ rate (Step 1 box c) or leave it as it is and see how it works out at the end of the year and then change it then. Changing to MFJ will reduce your tax with holding and give you more in each pay check and may have an affect on you refund amount. 


Here is the link to the 2022 W-4 if you decide you want to change the with holding


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