Filing taxes for those legally married - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 01-04-2010, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This will be our first year doing our taxes as a married couple. I know that we can only file jointly for state taxes, which is more confusing, IMO. How do you do them separately (DP, who does taxes online, says that they are combined and can't figure out how to file jointly for state and singly for federal). Would love more info on this. If we can't figure it out, I suppose we'll just each claim one of the kids and file singly.

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#2 of 11 Old 01-04-2010, 05:17 PM
 
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Hi Raene - it's confusing isn't it?! When we lived in California our state taxes (which we had to file as married - either separate or jointly) were based on federal taxes (which we needed to file as single, obviously). Luckily I had a friend who worked at a tax preparation firm who told me what to do w/online software. Fill out a "dummy" federal form as a married couple. Then, only file the state returns. Then fill out two separate federal returns as single people. File just the federal returns and not the state. Does that make sense? In essence you'll be filling out three federal returns (two single and one married - and filing only the two single) and one state return based on the married federal return. This process may be different if you are not based in California...

Before you each claim one kid I would fiddle around with the program and see if either of you gets a bigger benefit by claiming both kids. My partner and I earned almost the same amount of money, but I got a bigger return by claiming the kid than she did.

Is it weird that I think filing taxes is fun? I went into the wrong career.

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#3 of 11 Old 01-05-2010, 12:54 AM
 
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Last year we ended up doing what Cejae suggested... and then fiddling with it some more, and realized that we could get a better return if we filed H single with me as a dependent (full-time student). Then we did the dummy married return and filed state jointly. It took FOREVER! But in the end it worked out alright and wasn't that bad, in the grand scheme of things.

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#4 of 11 Old 01-05-2010, 11:31 AM
 
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My father does out taxes for us (he's a financial planner and while I have done them, he always seems to get us a better return...). It always makes his head hurt! I know we file married in MA and single Federally. I claim DS and since I am the SAHP - only working about 6 hours a week, so our return is pretty nice.

Eryn, wife to Amy, Mum to Eli, b. 1/9/08 and Willow, b. 5/29/10
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#5 of 11 Old 01-05-2010, 10:43 PM
 
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You'll most likely need to fill out two federal returns (one with you both as single or possibly with one head-of-household and one as married). Use the married one to generate your state return. Our understanding is that this is still either impossible or very difficult with online filing and that it's safest/easiest to send paper returns, so that's what we've done. It's possibly the online programs are getting smarter, but I doubt it. We used turbo tax to generate our paper forms last year, and it did understand the situation (amazingly). On the advice of a financial planner who did our taxes three years ago, we also include a letter with our federal stating that we are married in MA, because we're really uncomfortable not including a paper trail documenting why we file as single federally but not at the state level. Not everyone does this.

I'm Lyn (32) wife to Gail (38) Mama to Leigh (born 6/06 ,via Gail) and Ira (born 5/09, via me)
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#6 of 11 Old 01-05-2010, 10:56 PM
 
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I file our taxes and actually do use an online program. I have different sign in names, though, so I use one for the faux joint return, which I can then continue to use and just file the state return based off the faux joint. Then I have a separate sign in for each of our federal returns, which are filed as single. I hate that this is what we have to do, but I admit to hating it less and less every year as I just get used to it as the new normal. Of course not making it okay, but once you're in the habit, have all the paperwork in front of you, it's not the hugest hassle....

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#7 of 11 Old 01-05-2010, 11:22 PM
 
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We've done what everyone else has said. I wasn't able to figure out how to send JUST the state form online, so I printed it out and mailed it in (without enough postage last year, d'oh!).

The crazy thing is that it totally works to our benefit--financially speaking--to NOT be married in the eyes of the government. I actually haven't even had to file taxes federally for the last couple years, so we just had dw claim all of the kids on the federal form.

I think this year we are going to go to a professional since the combo of being homeowners AND all the crazy married/not married stuff would make my head spin.

Lex

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#8 of 11 Old 01-05-2010, 11:23 PM
 
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Can I just say that I'm glad WA doesn't have income tax? Otherwise we'd be filing as individuals for the Feds, married for MA (where we lived most of the year) and domestic partnered for WA (which I think they'd count the same as married for state purposes these days, but I'm not entirely certain).

But yes to the above advice RE: online filing. We each did our own for the feds, then I'd gather the stuff to complete the dummy return to print and mail to MA (since they charged to send that one electronically.) But we have no kids or joint property yet. When we manage to get those, I'm totally finding someone who knows what they're doing.

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#9 of 11 Old 01-06-2010, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is there a way to find out if it's worth it or not, financially? My head is spinning with this info, lol.

We'd originally planned to file separately and each take one of the kids, but I only work 10 hours a week so someone told me I should claim both kids (DP works FT).

Anyone know? THanks sooo much for the info. Oh yeah, and I found this:

http://turbotax.intuit.com/support/k...tips/5197.html

for those who use turbotax.

Mama with DD (01/04) and DD (08/09)
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#10 of 11 Old 01-07-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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I think whoever makes the most money typically would claim the most to get the most deductions...that is if you use schedule A and itemize. But I would play around with the numbers to be sure.

This year Dp and I bought a house together (co own). It was my second house owned and her first so it will be nice to get the tax credit via her. Too bad that we both cant get it but something is better than nothing for sure!

: DD 8/29/08 and twin boys 11/3/09
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#11 of 11 Old 01-22-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cejae View Post
Fill out a "dummy" federal form as a married couple. Then, only file the state returns. Then fill out two separate federal returns as single people. File just the federal returns and not the state.
.
Yup. That is what I do. Except for a couple years after we legally married I filed our federal as married also. My own little protest I guess. But once DP was earning real money if felt a little scary if we ever had to pay back something with interest, so I don't anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lexbeach View Post
. I actually haven't even had to file taxes federally for the last couple years, so we just had dw claim all of the kids on the federal form.
She can claim you as a dependent also, if your individual income is low enough. I've been my dp's dependent for 6 years now since I last had a real job.

With 5 dependents we love tax return time! Last year we had a ton of tree work done and put in a driveway. This year we are replacing our dangerously falling apart deck. Woo Hoo!

Me.  With 1 spouse, 4 kids, 16 chickens, 74 matchbox cars, 968,562+ legos, a dishwasher waiting to be emptied, a washing machine waiting to be filled and a lost cup of tea in the house.

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