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Level 1

married file jointly or seperatly

We have always filed married jointly. My wife works full time but I am getting federal workers comp and a little ssa disability. SSA now taxes me and sends me a ssa-1099 for part of the workers comp I get. I was wondering if we file seperately the amount I get taxed on will be low but if we add ours together we will pay tax on the total amount that she gets paid and what ssa now taxes me on workers comp. Which would be best jointly or seperate.

2 Replies
Level 15

married file jointly or seperatly

Workers compensation is not taxable.  You do not enter it on a tax return.



If you are getting a SSA1099 for Social Security that must be entered.

Go to Federal> Wages & Income>>Retirement Plans and Social Security  (SSA1099 and 1099RRB) to enter your SSA1099.



If you were legally married at the end of 2020 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 $24,800 (+$1300 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.**
Expert Alumni

married file jointly or seperatly

As a general rule, Married-Filing Jointly is the best approach for taxes.  Several tax credits and deductions are not available to married couples filing separately (see the TurboTax article link, below).


Without specific numbers (which we are not permitted to accept or work with) there is no way to tell whether filing married-jointly or married-separately would result in a better overall tax outcome for you. When you add in the variables of state tax, the problem becomes much more complicated.


TurboTax has an excellent article that addresses several consideration when asking Is it better for a married couple to file jointly or separately?

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