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molly4ej
New Member

We filed separate last year. Will it be more beneficial to file joint this year? Husband gets social security still works so he has to pay in each year. taxes each year.

should we continue filing separate or file joint?
2 Replies
xmasbaby0
Level 15

We filed separate last year. Will it be more beneficial to file joint this year? Husband gets social security still works so he has to pay in each year. taxes each year.

Joint would probably be better.  Filing separate returns is usually the worst way to file.

 

 

 

If you were legally married at the end of 2020 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 $24,800 (+$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...

**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.**
NCperson
Level 15

We filed separate last year. Will it be more beneficial to file joint this year? Husband gets social security still works so he has to pay in each year. taxes each year.

you will have to work it out both ways.. HOWEVER, 96% of married couples file joint - because the tax rules favor it.   The larger the difference between your income and your spouse's income, the more it makes sense to file joint. 

 

as the simple example, say He makes $30,000 and She doesn't work

 

married joint get a standard deduction of $24,800 while married separate gets $12,400.

 

a) If filing joint, taxable income is $30,000 - $24,800 or $5,200

b) if filing separate, taxable income for HIM is $30,000 - 12, 400 or $17,600.  taxable income for HER is zero.

 

the tax on situation b) is going to be higher than situation a).  So why file separate? 

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