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jman3
Level 2

Total income different if MFJ vs MFS

I was checking whether it is better to file federal as married joint or separate. I noticed the following when I checked the different combinations:

Total income: federal joint > federal separate for me + federal separate for my wife

Total AGI: federal joint > federal separate for me + federal separate for my wife

 

How come the separate federal incomes and AGIs do not add up to be the same as the joint amounts? Or am I missing something? I filled in separate returns with our corresponding tax forms, and then the joint return with all the same tax forms together, but the amounts don't match for some reason.

 

Thanks!

1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
Mike9241
Level 15

Total income different if MFJ vs MFS

you should check the returns to see on which lines the joint amount is different than the sum of the separate returns.  then you need to determine if the reason for the difference is valid or post back if you are unsure - we would need some details.   

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4 Replies
SweetieJean
Level 15

Total income different if MFJ vs MFS

It may have to do with how much of Social Security income is taxable, or how much of a state tax refund is taxable.  Are you in a Community Property State?   But more importantly, why aren't you filing Joint?

jman3
Level 2

Total income different if MFJ vs MFS

Thank you - we are not in a Community Property State.

I tried both ways to check and filing separately is better this year for us. Our combined income was high enough that we did not qualify for any of the stimulus payments before and we usually file jointly. But last year I was a student with little income, and by filing separately, I am able to claim the recovery rebate credit. So it makes it worthwhile than by filing jointly and not being able to claim it.

 

So this year it works out in our favor to file separately. Is that the right approach? And just to confirm, I should not worry that the total incomes and AGIs don't match when doing it jointly vs. adding the separate ones together?

 

Thanks!

ColeenD3
Expert Alumni

Total income different if MFJ vs MFS

It does not make sense that income amounts would not add up to be the same with two MFS returns vs one MFJ. What type of income is there? You can go over each return with a fine tooth comb or you can do everything on paper and then compare that to what you actually entered on your returns.

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Mike9241
Level 15

Total income different if MFJ vs MFS

you should check the returns to see on which lines the joint amount is different than the sum of the separate returns.  then you need to determine if the reason for the difference is valid or post back if you are unsure - we would need some details.   

View solution in original post

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