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Benefits Of Joint Tax Filing

Arizona Married Filing Separately

Should a Married Couple File Jointly or Separately? TurboTax Tax Tip Video

If you are married and live in Arizona, you may choose to file your state taxes using the âmarried filing separatelyâ status. This means that each spouse will file their own return and report only their own income, deductions, and credits. Although this may sound like a good way to save on your taxes, it often results in a higher tax bill than if you had filed jointly. This is because many tax benefits are only available to those who file jointly.

% On Income From $83551 To $178150

If youre a married couple filing jointly and your taxable income is between $83,550 to $178,150, youll fall in the 22% federal income tax bracket. This means that for every dollar over $83,550 that you earn, youll owe 22 cents in taxes.

While this may seem like a lot, its lower than many other countries marginal tax rates. So if youre feeling overwhelmed by your tax burden, just be thankful that you dont live somewhere else!

Should You And Your Spouse File Taxes Jointly Or Separately


For information on the third coronavirus relief package, please visit our American Rescue Plan: What Does it Mean for You and a Third Stimulus Check blog post.

Key Takeaways

For tax year 2022, most married couples under 65 filing a joint return receive a standard deduction of $25,900, while couples filing separately receive a standard deduction of $12,950.

Joint filers usually receive higher income thresholds for certain tax breaks, such as the deduction for contributing to an IRA.

If youre married and file separately, you may face a higher tax rate and pay more tax.

Filing separately may be a benefit if you have a large amount of out-of-pocket medical expenses. It may be easier to reach the 7.5% threshold of your adjusted gross income to qualify for medical deductions if you only claim one income.

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Child And Dependent Care Expenses

If you hire someone to care for a dependent or your disabled spouse, and you report income from employment or self-employment on your tax return, you may be able to take the credit for child and dependent care expenses on Form 2441. There are a number of eligibility requirements you must satisfy first, so its a good idea to familiarize yourself with the rules before preparing Form 2441.

When Should Married Couples File Taxes Separately

Joint or Separate Assessment?
  • Tax liabilitiesThere are some scenarios where it may make more sense to file separately. One is if you have a specific reason to keep your tax liabilities independent. For a variety of reasons, divorcing or separated couples may not be willing to file their taxes jointly. Filing separately may also be appropriate if one spouse suspects the other of tax evasion. If this is the case, the innocent spouse should file separately to avoid potential tax liability due to the behavior of the other spouse. When you file jointly, you and your spouse are both responsible for all the information you report, so be certain that all details are completely accurate for both of you.
  • Another reason is if one of you has a lot of itemized deductions that dont apply to the other person. For example, if you have out-of-pocket medical expenses that exceeds 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. If you file jointly and double your income, it will be a lot harder to write off those expenses.
  • Owing on your taxesIf you choose to file separately because you or your spouse will owe money on your tax return, the IRS will not apply your refund to your spouses balance. That could be a way for you to get a refund. Your spouse may owe more, though.

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How Does The Married Filing Jointly Status Work

The IRS recognizes five filing statuses on the Form 1040: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household and qualifying widow.

If youre married, you and your spouse have the option of filing one federal income tax return.

Joint filers report their income, deductions and credits on the same federal return even if only one spouse had income in the tax year. Both spouses will also list dependents on that joint return, both Social Security numbers will appear on the return, and both must sign it to use the joint status.

How To File Taxes When Getting An Ssn Or Itin For Your Foreign Spouse

In order to gain exemption for your spouse, you still need to get either an SSN or an ITIN for them. You can apply for an SSN for your spouse with an SS-5 form at any Social Security Office, or at a US Embassy or Consulate in foreign countries. Should you not be able to get an SSN, then opt for an ITIN, which is issued to nonresident alien spouses of US citizens in precisely these circumstances. There are a number of ways to get an ITIN and how to file those taxes, and the first step is to prepare a W-7 form.

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Filing Your Taxes Together May Not Be The Glue That Will Ensure You Stay Married Forever But It Could Save You Money And Help You Cash In On Some Lucrative Tax Credits

It would certainly be nice to think that couples who file their taxes together are more likely to stay together.

But at the very least, filing jointly can save you money. And given that financial issues are a classic flashpoint for couples, that cant be a bad thing.

Sure, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to doing your taxes. In some cases, you may be better off filing separately, especially if you suspect your partner isnt telling you the whole truth about their financial past, financial planners say.

However, couples who file together enjoy a number of advantages, from generally lower tax brackets to more generous tax credits. And those advantages wont disappear with the new tax law just passed by Congress.

If you file married filing separately, the income limits are really low for the various tax brackets, notes Edward Vargo, a certified financial planner whose Burning River Advisory Group is based in Westlake, Ohio. You get hammered pretty quickly.

To capture the lowest rates, filing jointly works best when one spouse is making significantly more than the other.

For example, take a teacher making $50,000 and a spouse earning $15,000 working part-time. In a straightforward tax calculation, each would pay higher rates on their incomes if they filed separately.

Of that $2,000, up to $1,400 is refundable if you dont owe any back taxes, with a $500 credit for other dependents, according to the provisions of new tax law.

Qualifying Widow Status When One Spouse Is Deceased

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The tax code allows you to file a joint return with your spouse for the tax year in which they die. Then you might be able to file as a qualifying widow for two more years going forward, or perhaps as head of household. Otherwise, youd then have to file as a single taxpayer.

A qualifying widow cant remarry during the two years during which this filing status is available, and they must have a child or stepchild who they can claim as a dependent and who lived with them through the entire tax year. Foster children dont count.

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How Do I Know Whether Its Better To File Jointly Or File Separately

The only foolproof way to know whether its financially better to file jointly or separately is to prepare both tax returns. Then, you look at the net refund and tax credits from each.

If theres a large advantage for married filing jointly vs. married filing separately, be sure to go with that option!

American Opportunity Tax Credit

The American Opportunity Tax Credit helps offset costs for post-secondary education. It was introduced in 2009 and requires that couples filing jointly have a modified adjusted gross income of no more than $160,000 to be eligible for full credit. Couples who make $160,000 to $180,000, meanwhile, can apply for a partial AOTC.

The maximum reward is an annual credit of $2,500 on qualified educational expenses for the first four years that a student attends an approved postsecondary institution.

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Substantial Expenses Or Deductions

Some rare cases financially justify filing separately. If someone has major medical expenses, sometimes he can only deduct them when they constitute a significant percentage of his income. If he and his spouse file jointly, it may be harder to meet the income requirement. Likewise, a large amount of itemized deductions can trigger more tax savings when they have a greater cost than a certain percentage of one person’s income.

Potential For Higher Ira Contributions

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Single individuals who arent working generally cannot contribute to an IRA. But if a couple is married and one spouse isnt working, the non-working spouse can contribute to an IRA using joint income. An eligible married couple filing jointly can make IRA contributions to two separate IRAs, or one for each spouse.

In addition to these tax benefits, the financial benefits of marriage include discounted auto and homeowners insurance, better rates on health insurance, and better rates and terms on loans and credit.

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Report Any Name Changes

Did you take your spouses last name? Well, make sure you tell the Social Security Administration so the name next to your Social Security number matches the name on your tax forms. If you dont, the IRS will hold your tax refund until you resolve the issue. Fill out Form SS-5 and file it at your local Social Security office.

Now, if you dont have time to change your name before the tax deadline, you can file using your maiden name. But make sure you take care of the name change by next year.

There Have Been Some Significant Changes To The Irs Tax Brackets

  • The standard deduction for married taxpayers filing jointly has been increased to $25,100. This is a $300 increase from the previous year.
  • For heads of households, the standard deduction will be $18,800, up $150.
  • The personal tax exemption hasnt changed from 2018. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act stipulated that the personal exemption has been removed.
  • For married couples filing jointly, the top rate of tax has remained the same at 37%. To qualify for the maximum rate of tax, you must have earned more than $628,300.

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Who Can File Jointly

If you just got married, congrats! But you may not be able to file jointly just yet.

You need to have been married before January 1 of this year to file last years taxes jointly. So if you got married on December 31 of last year or earlier, you can file together. But if you got married on or after January 1 of this year, you must file separately this tax season.

What Happens When You File Jointly

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The biggest change, tax-wise, that you might notice is that credits you qualify for as an individual might no longer be applicable for your joint familys income. As an example, if you currently qualify for the GST/HST credit, but your partners income is much higher than yours, you might not qualify for it once youre filing together.

But heres what doesnt happen: You dont get taxed on your income as a couple. If you earn $40,000, youll still only owe the tax you already owed on that $40,000, even if your partner earns $200,000. In some places, your family income is taxed all together, but in Canada your personal earned income is still subject to the same rates as it was before.

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Drawbacks To Filing Jointly

Filing jointly has its pitfalls as well. For example, by signing a joint return, you become liable for its contents, even if your spouse prepared it alone. As a result, you might experience legal ramifications if your spouse misreports or lies about numbers on the tax return. Fortunately, if you can prove you were unaware of the misinformation, you wont suffer legal consequences.

Furthermore, your spouse might have a court-ordered garnishment for debt or child support. In this scenario, your spouses obligations might diminish or delay your joint tax refund.

In addition, couples might have trouble deducting medical expenses. For instance, for 2022, the couples medical expenses must be higher than 7.5% of their adjusted gross income . Therefore, a couple with a combined income of $100,000 must have medical expenses of at least $7,501 to deduct them from taxes.

Finally, couples filing jointly with an income of at least $250,000 will incur more taxes. Specifically, they must pay 3.8% of their income for net investment income taxes and 0.9% of their income for the Medicare surtax. On the other hand, those filing on their own wont have to worry about those taxes if their income is beneath $200,000. Unfortunately, this figure doesnt translate to a limit of $400,000 for those married filing jointly.

No: My Spouse Does Not Have A Green Card And Is Considered A Nonresident Alien

This scenario is slightly more complex, but you have more options open to you:

1) If your spouse does not have American residency, you can declare they have resident alien status for the purpose of filing taxes.

The advantages to doing this are the same as stated above: as a couple, you have a higher standard deduction, which means its likely you would end up paying less tax in total.

2) However, perhaps your spouse earns all of their money outside of the US and likewise uses it all outside of the country. If they are also not a dependent of anyone in the US, then they dont have to file in the USA, and this might be the route you want to take. This is especially smart if you are living in a foreign country with lower tax rates than the USA.

If option #2 applies to you and you have other qualifying dependents living with you, you have the additional option of filing asHead of Household, which incurs greater benefits than simply filing separately from your spouse.

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Newlyweds And Income Tax Withholding

When you get married, its a good time to check your income tax withholding and make sure youre not having too much or too little withheld from your paycheck. It is important to file a new Form W-4, with the Married checkbox selected, with your employer after your marriage. When you do, it may be equally important to adjust the amount of withholding on the Form W-4. For example, if you and your spouse make similar incomes, you may need to have more income tax withheld to avoid a potential tax bill next year.

On the other hand, if your spouse has little or no income, your income tax bill when you file jointly may be considerably less. You may need to have less income tax withheld to avoid having the IRS hold too much of your money all year.

What Is The Marriage Penalty And The Eitc

Taxable Social Security Calculator

Keep in mind that low-earning couples could be hit with a marriage penalty if they claim the earned income tax credit . The EITC is a refundable tax credit available mainly to working parents with children.

This is because taxpayers are no longer eligible for the EITC once their income exceeds a certain level, which is based on how many children they have. For example, a married couple with one child will no longer qualify for the EITC once their income exceeds $49,622 for tax year 2022.

Interestingly, to qualify for the EITC, the income limits for married taxpayers are not double those for single taxpayers. For example, the income limit for the 2022 tax year is $43,492 for a single taxpayer with one qualifying child, but only $49,622for married taxpayers with one qualifying child.

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Filing Tax Form : Child And Dependent Care Expenses


There are a number of eligibility requirements to satisfy before potentially receiving a child or dependent care credit, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the rules before preparing Form 2441.

For information on the third coronavirus relief package, please visit our American Rescue Plan: What Does it Mean for You and a Third Stimulus Check blog post.

Watch Out For The Upsell

The CRA divides its certified software categories into free products and products with pay what you want model, and paid products and products with free offerings. The second category is largely made up of companies that have a bare bones filing platform that is free, but once on their site, they may do everything they can to upsell you on paid products, and perhaps push you into thinking you need them when you might not. Youve been warned!

Paid products, like audit protection plans, an insurance that assures that should the CRA audit you, their company will serve as an intermediary, are more controversial. Full tax audits are exceedingly rare And as Toronto tax attorney David Rotfleisch told Global News, should you be audited, you might be better off hiring a bone fide accountant or tax attorney to help you rather than relying on someone with unspecified qualifications. Rotfleisch said:

The unknown is the level of expertise of the people providing the representation services,

He went on to point out if the representatives do not have the proper expertise, the taxpayers situation may very well be prejudiced.

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