Money Matters
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Joint Filing vs. Separately

First, we can still file our taxes separately, correct? I'm so confused about how this will work...if we do file separately, do we still tell them we are married in like, Turbo Tax? (DH always does both of our taxes, so these questions are kind of blind.) I just want to make sure we can still maximize our returns, of course.

 I realize there is a cut off for income before being bumped to the next bracket. I think we are right on the edge of it, so I'd probably need to look at our individual incomes, right? Because if we were both making over a certain amount, we'd fall into the same bracket once married and filing jointly, correct? And it wouldn't make a difference either way? Our incomes are very similar, but last year, he just barely made it up into the next bracket, and I don't believe I did. This year, we both got raises, so I will be right around the next bracket up, I think, and he definitely will be. This is all assuming we're still "allowed" to file separately.

Ahhhh, I'm so confused! I am hoping to figure it out before February! lol

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Re: Joint Filing vs. Separately

  • If you are married, your only two choices are Married Filing Jointly and Married Filing Separately.  In most cases it is more advantageous to file MFJ because you lose a lot of tax credits, etc. filing MFS.  Most online programs have a function where you can see the difference between the two.  When you enter the info, do it as if you will be MFJ and then use the tool to see if it's better to file MFS.
  • I agree with PP. I've read that if you are married but file separately than you can't claim any credits, like educational expenses, renters tax credit, health expenses, etc. I'm in a similar situation as you. DH and I also got raises this year, but we spent more on school and bought a house. So taxes are going to be interesting. I would do what PP said. You should easily be able to use TurboTax the way you always have to try different situations and see what gives you the max. If you are really nervous about it, you can always go to a tax expert.

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