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b_alive
New Member

My wife & I are newly married. Last year we had to pay at the year's end. We changed our W4s to 0 dependants & this year we still have to pay?! What are we doing wrong?

 
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Anita01
New Member

My wife & I are newly married. Last year we had to pay at the year's end. We changed our W4s to 0 dependants & this year we still have to pay?! What are we doing wrong?

The problem you are encountering is not unusual for a married couple who both work, especially if you have healthy salaries.

Payroll tables that are used to calculate withholding assume two things-one is that each of you receive a standard deduction of $12,700 before owing any tax.   The other assumption is that each will only be taxed on the amount of income being earned at that job.

In truth, when you actually file your return, you receive only one standard deduction of $12.700 for a married couple.  Your tax owed on your income is also calculated at the rate that applies to your total income, not just one person's income, so, together, you may have some  income in a higher tax bracket than your withholding assumes.

It's usually not a good alternative to file separately because the tax rate is then much higher.  One thing that could help for next year, is that one of you could choose to have tax withheld at the higher single rate.  You could make this change with your payroll department, it's a choice for your W-4.

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3 Replies
Anita01
New Member

My wife & I are newly married. Last year we had to pay at the year's end. We changed our W4s to 0 dependants & this year we still have to pay?! What are we doing wrong?

The problem you are encountering is not unusual for a married couple who both work, especially if you have healthy salaries.

Payroll tables that are used to calculate withholding assume two things-one is that each of you receive a standard deduction of $12,700 before owing any tax.   The other assumption is that each will only be taxed on the amount of income being earned at that job.

In truth, when you actually file your return, you receive only one standard deduction of $12.700 for a married couple.  Your tax owed on your income is also calculated at the rate that applies to your total income, not just one person's income, so, together, you may have some  income in a higher tax bracket than your withholding assumes.

It's usually not a good alternative to file separately because the tax rate is then much higher.  One thing that could help for next year, is that one of you could choose to have tax withheld at the higher single rate.  You could make this change with your payroll department, it's a choice for your W-4.

b_alive
New Member

My wife & I are newly married. Last year we had to pay at the year's end. We changed our W4s to 0 dependants & this year we still have to pay?! What are we doing wrong?

Thank you very much for your time and input! We will look into the "higher single rate" option on our W4's (Just one of us?). I've never heard of that but if it gives us hope for next year, then that's great! We've never had to pay as singles so this was a huge, unexpected blow.
Anita01
New Member

My wife & I are newly married. Last year we had to pay at the year's end. We changed our W4s to 0 dependants & this year we still have to pay?! What are we doing wrong?

yes, to be more aggressive, if you can afford it, the higher-earning person could make this choice.  If it starts to feel tight, you can always change it again after you see what happens with your withholding when the new tax law changes are incorporated into the payroll tables in February.
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