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egoodhall
Level 2

Should we file jointly or separately?

     Hello,

     My wife and I file our taxes jointly every year. However, in 2019 she had a lot of medical bills totaling around 12,500.00 $. Her income is 40,000.00 and mine is a little above 75,000.00. Should we file separately this year so she gets more taxes back for her medical expenses? Thank you

1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
xmasbaby0
Level 15

Should we file jointly or separately?

You lose a lot of other credits when you file separate returns, so it might not help to file MFS.  You could try calculating both ways to see which is better.  MFS probably will not be better.

 

It is not easy to compare MFJ to MFS using online TT but you can do it.  Since you only get one return for each account and user ID, you have to use 3 accounts and user ID’s—one for MFJ and two for each of the MFS returns.  Compare, choose, and file—and pay—accordingly.

It is much easier to do this comparison using the desktop version of TT installed from a CD or downloaded to your own computer.  You pay once for the software and you can prepare multiple returns easily, and it has a “what if” feature that allows comparisons.

If you were legally married at the end of 2019 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 $24,400 (+$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.

 

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1894449-married-filing-jointly-vs-married-filing-separately

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1901162-married-filing-separately-in-community-property-states

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1894449-is-it-better-for-a-married-couple-to-file-jointly-or-separ...

 

MEDICAL EXPENSES

The medical expense deduction has to meet a rather large threshold before it can affect your return. The amount of medical (including dental, vision, etc.)  expenses that will count toward itemization is the amount that is OVER 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. You should only enter the amount that you paid in 2019—do not include any amounts that were covered by insurance or that are still outstanding. Of course, your medical expenses plus your other itemized deductions still have to exceed your standard deduction before you will see a difference in your tax due or refund.

To enter your medical expenses go to Federal>Deductions and Credits>Medical>Medical Expenses

2019 Standard Deduction Amounts

 

Single $12,200   (+ $1650 65 or older)

Married Filing Separate  $12,200   (+ $1300 if 65 or older)

Married Filing Jointly $24,400   (+ $1300 for each spouse 65 or older)

Head of Household $18,350  (+ $1650 for 65 or older)

 

**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.**

View solution in original post

1 Reply
xmasbaby0
Level 15

Should we file jointly or separately?

You lose a lot of other credits when you file separate returns, so it might not help to file MFS.  You could try calculating both ways to see which is better.  MFS probably will not be better.

 

It is not easy to compare MFJ to MFS using online TT but you can do it.  Since you only get one return for each account and user ID, you have to use 3 accounts and user ID’s—one for MFJ and two for each of the MFS returns.  Compare, choose, and file—and pay—accordingly.

It is much easier to do this comparison using the desktop version of TT installed from a CD or downloaded to your own computer.  You pay once for the software and you can prepare multiple returns easily, and it has a “what if” feature that allows comparisons.

If you were legally married at the end of 2019 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 $24,400 (+$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.

 

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1894449-married-filing-jointly-vs-married-filing-separately

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1901162-married-filing-separately-in-community-property-states

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1894449-is-it-better-for-a-married-couple-to-file-jointly-or-separ...

 

MEDICAL EXPENSES

The medical expense deduction has to meet a rather large threshold before it can affect your return. The amount of medical (including dental, vision, etc.)  expenses that will count toward itemization is the amount that is OVER 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. You should only enter the amount that you paid in 2019—do not include any amounts that were covered by insurance or that are still outstanding. Of course, your medical expenses plus your other itemized deductions still have to exceed your standard deduction before you will see a difference in your tax due or refund.

To enter your medical expenses go to Federal>Deductions and Credits>Medical>Medical Expenses

2019 Standard Deduction Amounts

 

Single $12,200   (+ $1650 65 or older)

Married Filing Separate  $12,200   (+ $1300 if 65 or older)

Married Filing Jointly $24,400   (+ $1300 for each spouse 65 or older)

Head of Household $18,350  (+ $1650 for 65 or older)

 

**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.**

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