How to compare separate vs joint without pain in TurboTax (online)?

I believe there are situations when filing married separate gives MORE refund then married filing joint.
The problem with TurboTax is that there is no way to get the idea unless you create multiple returns.
Majority of the married users simply assume that joint return is better and never check any other option.

For instance, some (much cheaper) competitor products provide easy analysis of Separate vs Joint.
But not TurboTax (Online). As a result I suspect many TurboTax users simply loose money on taxes using the product...

So here is the simple case.
Note, that those who live in the community property states like California must split income (and deductions) evenly between spouses when filing separate.

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT TAX ADVICE.
CONSULT YOUR TAX PROFESSIONAL BEFORE MAKING ANY DECISION BASED ON THIS HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE.

1. Filing Joint:
---------------
AGI = 160k
# of dependents = 2
max child credit = 2x $1k = $2k
Phase out = $2k - (AGI - $110k) * $50/k = -$500

Obviously this joint tax return does not qualify for any portion of the child tax credit because it was completely phased out.

2. Filing Separate
-------------------------
AGI = $80k + $80k
# of dependents = 2 + 0  (yes, you can freely choose how to split as long you do not share)
max child credit = $2k + $0
Phase out = $2k - (AGI - $55k) * $50/k = +$750 + $0

So one of separate returns that claims both dependents will qualify for additional $750 potentially making overall refund greater by the same amount!
    Cancel
    The online version does not lend itself to easily do the preparation of comparison Federal Income tax returns.  You can start returns and continue to the point of filing without paying and view the results on the Form 1040.  With Desktop, you can prepare, save as different names and print as many as you have time to do.  If you have started the return using the online product, you can download the file and finish the return using the desktop version. .
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    TurboTax Deluxe for desktop is the best value.
    .
    .
    For personal tax returns and single owner business:
    .
    Tax schedules C, D, E, and F (required for people who own a single owner business, have sold investments, have rental property, have farming operations, have farm rentals or have K-1 entries. need Home and Business. Premier, or Deluxe which will prepare the tax form you need
    .
    Home and Business. Premier, or Deluxe will prepare the tax form you need.
    .
    I recommend the Desktop version.  .  .  .  .The convenience of being able to view forms and print forms to look at as you progress through tax return preparation is PRICELESS. . . . . E-filing of up to five Federal Income tax returns, .  .  .   . Preparing as many returns  as you have time to do. . . . .Selection of the software for one State of your choice,  to prepare State income tax returns . . . prepare as many as you have time to do . . . . and print and file by mail as many Federal and of the one State selected as you have time to do.  . . . .  The Find, search Box and the View Topics List are great navigational aids. . . . .  If you have started the return using the online product, you can download the file and finish the return using the desktop version. . . .
    .
    Home and Business is for personal and single owner business tax preparation.  Has the best interview. Has interview for personal tax information entry separated from interview for single owner business reported on Schedule C(Sole Proprietorship and Single Member LLC) also has additional explanations and help links
    .
    Premier is designed more for people with investments.  Interview for personal and single owner business tax preparation is all in one section.
    .
    Deluxe has less interview but by using the search and find or the view topics list you can get to point of entry OK, sometimes have to continue through several screens until you find where to enter.   Deluxe, desktop version, is the best TurboTax value.
    .
    To review and purchase TurboTax products go to:.
    .
    https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/#go_tt_cd
    .
    Additional information and products are available
    .
    You can also purchase CDs for the TurboTax desktop version, locally, at most Office Supply and Department stores
    • Well, what is the point of the TurboTax Online product if it is not capable of doing such a basic thing?
      I can only imagine how many people filing joint with TurboTax online lost their money!
      Just cancel it and tell the world to use the Desktop version instead.

      Again, your competition does it with a single click and it does not require desktop, and it costs several times less than your limited online solution.
    • OK, great so I just wasted an afternoon filing out my info in turbo tax online expecting to see the difference between joint and separate filing only to discover this.
      Why don't you put a big warning on the front of your product which says "If you are married and want to know the difference between joint and separate filing don't use the online software"
      Burned by Turbo Tax once again.  I'm going to switch to another product and I won't be using Turbo Tax this year or ever again.
    • Actually disclaimer at front should be something like this:

       if you are married you HAVE create THREE separate returns and enter all you data THREE times in order to compare between joint and separate. Separate return could be a better option for you.
    Cancel
    Contribute an answer

    People come to TurboTax AnswerXchange for help and answers—we want to let them know that we're here to listen and share our knowledge. We do that with the style and format of our responses. Here are five guidelines:

    1. Keep it conversational. When answering questions, write like you speak. Imagine you're explaining something to a trusted friend, using simple, everyday language. Avoid jargon and technical terms when possible. When no other word will do, explain technical terms in plain English.
    2. Be clear and state the answer right up front. Ask yourself what specific information the person really needs and then provide it. Stick to the topic and avoid unnecessary details. Break information down into a numbered or bulleted list and highlight the most important details in bold.
    3. Be concise. Aim for no more than two short sentences in a paragraph, and try to keep paragraphs to two lines. A wall of text can look intimidating and many won't read it, so break it up. It's okay to link to other resources for more details, but avoid giving answers that contain little more than a link.
    4. Be a good listener. When people post very general questions, take a second to try to understand what they're really looking for. Then, provide a response that guides them to the best possible outcome.
    5. Be encouraging and positive. Look for ways to eliminate uncertainty by anticipating people's concerns. Make it apparent that we really like helping them achieve positive outcomes.
    Cancel