It ’ s not the date night you were expecting, right ?
well, don ’ thymine feel bad. Every marry couple has to do their taxes. even the most perfective Nicholas Sparks pair has to fill out their shape 1040 at some target. But what does married filing jointly mean ? And how is it different than married filing individually ? Let ’ s dig a short deeper and find out .
What Is Married Filing Jointly?
Married file jointly ( or MFJ for short ) means you and your spouse occupy out one tax return together.
now, don ’ metric ton get us wrong : You don ’ t have to file jointly. You could file individually. But it ’ randomness rare ( like four-leaf clover rare ) to find yourself in a situation in which filing individually is better than jointly. We ’ ll talk more about those situations below .
Who Can File Jointly?
If you just got married, congrats ! But you may not be able to file jointly just yet .
Taxes shouldn ’ thyroxine be this complicated. Connect with a RamseyTrusted tax adviser .
You need to have been married before January 1 of this year to file death year ’ sulfur 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 individually this tax season .
How Do You File Jointly?
Filing your taxes jointly isn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate that unlike from filing as single or head of family. You and your spouse still have to report your income and list deductions and credits. The biggest deviation is that you ’ ll choose married filing jointly as your filing status rather of the others .
But if this is your first tax season as husband and wife, you ’ ll want to take care of a couple of things foremost :
If this is your beginning tax season as conserve and wife, you ’ ll want to take manage of a couple of things first .
1. Notify the IRS of any address changes.
If you moved, be sure to notify the IRS of your address change by filing shape 8822 .
2. Tell your employer you’ve moved.
Don ’ thymine forget to let your employer acknowledge of any changes to your name and/or address thus your W-2 arrives on time and in good order .
3. Report any name changes.
Did you take your spouse ’ south final name ? Well, make certain you tell the Social Security Administration so the name following to your Social Security act matches the name on your tax forms. If you don’t, 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 position .
now, if you don ’ t have time to change your diagnose before the tax deadline, you can file using your inaugural name. But make certain you take caution of the name change by following year .
Can You File Jointly if You’re Widowed?
Yes. If your spouse passed away during the past tax year, you can file jointly for that year. After that, you have to file as a qualifying widow or widower, promontory of family or single file clerk .
Married Filing Jointly vs. Married Filing Separately
As we said before, the IRS doesn ’ thymine power you to file jointly. You can constantly file individually. Married filing individually is a filing condition for married couples who, for whatever reason, decide, “ Meh, we don ’ triiodothyronine want to do our taxes together. ” As a married couple, you should merge your finances, but there may be a tax nuance or two that could cause you to consider filing a separate return .
When do you want to file separately?
basically, our rule of ovolo is this : file individually when it saves you money. Whichever filing condition puts more money in your pouch ( or takes less money out of it ), that ’ s the filing status we recommend.
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It ’ second rare that filing individually will mean more money for you. But there are some circumstances in which this is the case, like these :
1. Your spouse isn’t paying their taxes.
Your spouse may play “ catch me if you can ” with the IRS and not pay their taxes. We don ’ thymine recommend this but, in that case, you should decidedly file your taxes .
2. You don’t know if your spouse is honestly reporting their income or deductions.
Remember : When you file jointly, you ’ re both held creditworthy for the accuracy of your tax returns. If your spouse has intentionally reported false numbers, the IRS will see you as a partner in crime .
3. You or your spouse want to claim medical debt as a deduction.
If you or your spouse had medical bills last class, you may be able to deduct some of it. How much you can deduct depends on how much money you make .
basically, the more income you make, the less you can deduct from your medical expenses. And sometimes you make so much you can ’ thyroxine withhold anything. so if your spouse makes a draw more than you do and you file jointly, your checkup tax write-off will be a fortune less than if you file individually .
Figuring out which manner works best can be mathematically intense. If you ’ re not certain, take your case to a tax public relations o and let them do the mathematics for you to be dependable .
What are the advantages of married filing jointly?
More likely than not, you ’ re better off filing jointly. here are a few reasons why :
1. You have a higher standard deduction.
If you file individually, you merely get a $ 12,000 standard subtraction. Filing jointly doubles that sum to $ 24,000. Yeah, that ’ sulfur right. We said $ 24,000 ! Most tax filers can substantially lower their taxable income with that .
2. You get more tax credits.
tax credits are like giving cards from the IRS—they apply to your concluding tax beak and reduce it dollar-per-dollar. Call it a late wedding present ( or an anniversary endowment ), but the IRS gives more tax credits to married couples filing jointly than to couples filing individually .
If you ’ re marry filing jointly, then you may qualify for some of these tax credits :
- Earned Income Tax Credit
- Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit
- Adoption Credit
- Credit for the Elderly and Disabled
- American Opportunity Credit
- Lifetime Opportunity Credit for Higher Education Expenses
now, merely to be clear : You can get these credits if your filing condition is marry filing jointly, single or question of family. But if you ’ re married filing individually, you won ’ thyroxine be eligible .
3. You can save time.
We can ’ thymine overstate this. When you file jointly, you only have to fill out one tax return—not two. So you ’ re save fourth dimension. And if you ’ re using a tax pro, filing individually could cost you more money .
4. Filing jointly is less complicated.
When you file individually, you have to follow certain rules that can make your day a short barbed. For example, only one of you can claim your child as a dependent. On top of that, you ’ ll have to agree on whether you ’ ll take the standard tax write-off or itemize. Yep. No cherry picking. If your spouse wants to itemize, then you have to itemize.
Want to Spend Less Time on Taxes and More Time With Your Spouse?
Every marriage hits a speed find every now and then, but taxes don ’ t have to be one of them. If you have a relatively dim-witted tax return and want to try filing your taxes on your own, check out RamseySmartTax .
If you have a complicate tax site or you ’ ra not certain whether you should file jointly or individually, working with a tax professional is probably your smartest option. And if you ’ ra looking for a trustworthy tax expert in your area, we can help ! We ’ ve vetted some of the best tax professional in the state. They have years of have and, believe it or not, they love this stuff. Our pros can talk taxes all day ! They have a thorough agreement of the tax changes this year and how they affect you and your spouse. The oklahoman you connect with a professional, the oklahoman you can check taxes off your disturbance list and get back to more, well, amatory things .
Find a tax technical today !