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Spouse makes half of what I make, should we file separately? When I enter her income, my refund drops from 8,000 to 3,000. Should we file separately?

I make roughly double what my wife makes, in the year. Should we file separately as when her income is entered, my refund drops almost 5,000. Should we file separately?

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Spouse makes half of what I make, should we file separately? When I enter her income, my refund drops from 8,000 to 3,000. Should we file separately?

It is usually better to file Joint. Joint has the lowest tax rates and the highest Standard Deduction.   And if you are in a Community Property state MFS gets tricky to figure out.  Here's some things to consider about filing separately……

In the first place you each have to file a separate return, so that's two returns.  And if you are using the Online version that means using 2 accounts and paying the fees twice.  

Many people think they come out better when filing Married Filing Separate but they are probably doing it wrong.  If one person itemizes deductions then the other one must itemize too, even if it's less than the standard deduction, even if it is ZERO!  

And there are several credits you can't take when filing separately, like the
EITC Earned Income Tax Credit
Child Care Credit
Educational Deductions and Credits

And contributions to IRA and ROTH IRA are limited when you file MFS.

Also if you file Married Filing Separately up to 85`% of your Social Security becomes taxable right away even with zero other income.

See …….
<a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1894449-married-filing-jointly-vs-married-filing-separately">https...>

Spouse makes half of what I make, should we file separately? When I enter her income, my refund drops from 8,000 to 3,000. Should we file separately?


When you added more income, your tax liability increased, so you saw your refund decrease.  The program begins by giving you your personal exemption of $4050 plus your standard deduction—both of which lowered your taxable income. So you are not being taxed on as much of the income on that first W-2.  Then you added taxable income--so the refund went down. Your refund (or tax due) is based on the total of your income, not “per W-2.”  Wait until you have entered ALL of your income and deduction information.  You can't really tell anything until it is all entered.  That “refund monitor” does not mean anything until everything has been entered.


If you were legally married at the end of 2017 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 each receive the $4050 personal exemption, plus the married filing jointly standard deduction of $12,700 (add $1250 for each spouse over the age of 65).  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.  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.**
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