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Spouse paying same tax bracket as me on significantly less income

I made significantly more than my spouse and that puts me in the 35% tax bracket.  My spouse's income was only taxed at 10% federal rate from her company.  When I put our W2s into TurboTax, my federal income tax liability increases by 15% of her salary, for a total of 35% for her tax liability.  Is this really correct?   My spouse has to pay into the same tax bracket as me when she makes less than 10% of what I'm making?


Lets say her income was $35,000 and she was taxed $3,500 at 10%.  Turbotax is telling me that she really owes a total of at $12,250 at 35% (my income bracket).  Really?

2 Replies
Level 3

Spouse paying same tax bracket as me on significantly less income

Yes, this is how filing a joint tax return works.  It sounds like it may be your first year filing this way? (Congratulations!) 


When you file a tax return jointly with a spouse everything is combined into one, and your taxes are calculated this way.  The brackets move a little - so that more income is needed on a joint return than on an individual one to get you to each tax bracket, but it is all taxed the same.  


Here are the brackets,and you can see what I mean about the change for joint filers:


ax Rate Taxable Income (Single) Taxable Income (Married Filing Jointly)

10%Up to $9,875Up to $19,750
12%$9,876 to $40,125$19,751 to $80,250
22%$40,126 to $85,525$80,251 to $171,050
24%$85,526 to $163,300$171,051 to $326,600


For tax purposes, now that you are married, there is no "hers" and "yours" but there is "our" income.  


Your wife's income wasn't "taxed" at 10% - that is just what her company "withheld" - which is really just an advance payment of the taxes expected to be due.   She should, and perhaps you both should, file new Form W-4s with your payroll departments. 



Level 15

Spouse paying same tax bracket as me on significantly less income


You started off with your first W-2 and your refund looked high?  Then you added another W-2 and it stopped looking so good? That is normal.  When you added more income, your tax liability increased, so you saw your refund decrease.  The program began by giving you your standard deduction—- 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 credit/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.

**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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