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evanssr19
Returning Member

Should I change my status to single while i'm still married but still file married filing jointly for the 2019 tax year to potentially have a better outcome next year?

I got married for the 2018 tax year and changed my status from single to married but my tax consultant advised me to change my filing status back to single and add an additional withdrawal amount for the 2019 tax year because my husband and I owed a substantial amount due to moving, business losses, etc. Is it advised to change my status back to single even though I will be filing as married filing jointly for the 2019 tax year? 

1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
SteamTrain
Level 15

Should I change my status to single while i'm still married but still file married filing jointly for the 2019 tax year to potentially have a better outcome next year?

IF you are talking about your W-4 form at work...that sets your withholding.  Yes, you can set it at single to have more withholding done.  Many people do that

But to avoid misunderstandings by your employer...look at the W-4 form..it has a selection for "Married, but withhold at higher Single rate"....that is what you should use.  (and line 6 is for an  additional amount to withhold above that)

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf

_________________

Naturally, for your actual tax file itself...you must use either MFJ or MFS when you file your actual end-of-year tax return...but your W-4 withholding form is only for setting the proper withholding on your paychecks.

____________*Answers are correct to the best of my knowledge when posted, but should not be considered to be legal or official tax advice.*

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7 Replies
SweetieJean
Level 15

Should I change my status to single while i'm still married but still file married filing jointly for the 2019 tax year to potentially have a better outcome next year?

You cannot file as Single is your are legally married.  Did the "tax consultant" really mean your W-4 withholding form?
evanssr19
Returning Member

Should I change my status to single while i'm still married but still file married filing jointly for the 2019 tax year to potentially have a better outcome next year?

yes my w-4. I know which option to choose now thank you. I should choose married but withhold at higher single rate.
SteamTrain
Level 15

Should I change my status to single while i'm still married but still file married filing jointly for the 2019 tax year to potentially have a better outcome next year?

IF you are talking about your W-4 form at work...that sets your withholding.  Yes, you can set it at single to have more withholding done.  Many people do that

But to avoid misunderstandings by your employer...look at the W-4 form..it has a selection for "Married, but withhold at higher Single rate"....that is what you should use.  (and line 6 is for an  additional amount to withhold above that)

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf

_________________

Naturally, for your actual tax file itself...you must use either MFJ or MFS when you file your actual end-of-year tax return...but your W-4 withholding form is only for setting the proper withholding on your paychecks.

____________*Answers are correct to the best of my knowledge when posted, but should not be considered to be legal or official tax advice.*
TaxGuyBill
Level 9

Should I change my status to single while i'm still married but still file married filing jointly for the 2019 tax year to potentially have a better outcome next year?

I agree.  If both spouses work, it is usually appropriate to claim "Married but withhold at the higher Single rate" on the W-4.  The "Married" withholding on a W-4 is mostly based on if only one spouse works.

Of course the W-4s for 2020 are most likely going to dramatically change, and are pretty much like doing a tax return.
evanssr19
Returning Member

Should I change my status to single while i'm still married but still file married filing jointly for the 2019 tax year to potentially have a better outcome next year?

Thank you so much for all of the info. I didn't read the W-4 correctly and should have chosen the married but withhold at higher single rate option. With that should I still claim additional allowances? (1 for myself and 1 for married filing jointly?)
SteamTrain
Level 15

Should I change my status to single while i'm still married but still file married filing jointly for the 2019 tax year to potentially have a better outcome next year?

No way for us to know.  Depends on how much more you need to have withheld by the end of the year.

(VERY ROUGHLY) For a person being paid twice a month at 2000 gross per paycheck
Withholding/paycheck for married and zero allowances is $165
Withholding/paycheck for single  and zero allowances is $240

so ~$75 more per paycheck is withheld by going from M to Single and zero allowances on both.

IF you were doing Married and 2 allowances last year and switched to Single and 2
then it goes from 125-to-170  or $45 more per pay
_____________
So you should be able to figure out from that ~how much the extra withholding will add in to your total by the end of the year.

(But, of course, that's for ~2000 gross /paycheck twice a month)
____________*Answers are correct to the best of my knowledge when posted, but should not be considered to be legal or official tax advice.*
evanssr19
Returning Member

Should I change my status to single while i'm still married but still file married filing jointly for the 2019 tax year to potentially have a better outcome next year?

thank you!
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