How can we compare married filing jointly with married filing separately?
If you already created a joint return in the TurboTax CD/Download software, here's a quick way to see how filing separately affects your federal return (this won't work in TurboTax Online):
- Open your return and switch to Forms Mode.
- Open the What-If Worksheet (it may appear as What-If Wks).
- Check the MFJ vs. MFS box at the top.
- Scroll down to Balance Due (Refund) located under Line 74.
- The second column shows the federal outcome for a joint return, and the third and fourth columns, respectively, show the outcome for the taxpayer and spouse if filing separately.
- Negative numbers are refunds, positive numbers are taxes due.
However, this doesn't give you the whole picture because it doesn't account for your state return. For a true "apples to apples" comparison, you'll need to prepare your returns both ways.