Married couples have the option of filing their taxes jointly or separately. You and your spouse may want to calculate your taxes separately and jointly first to see which method yields the largest tax return. However, your standard deduction will still be double if you choose to file jointly. Go to the library or post office and obtain all instructions and forms for your taxes. Determine whether you will use the 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ income tax form. You will typically need the 1040 form if you itemize your deductions.
Gather all your spouse's and your own statements, such as W-2's for wages, 1099 forms for interest and dividends, as well as any mortgage information you have. Put all similar forms together in piles.
Open your instruction booklet for information on filling out your name, filing status and exemptions. Write down both your full names and social security numbers on the income tax form. Take one exemption each for you and your spouse.
Add both of your incomes together from your W2 forms, which will come from each of your employers. Include the total of both incomes under "Wages, Salaries, Tips, Etc." on your income tax form. Add all interest and dividend payments you and your wife received. Write down the sum total of all interest and dividends in the "Income" section of your income tax form. Add all income together to get a total income amount.
Record any moving expenses, health savings account or student loan interest deductions under "Adjusted Gross Income" on your tax form. Subtract all expenses from your total income to calculate your adjusted gross income, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
Turn your income form over and enter your adjusted gross income on the first available line.
Decide whether you will take the standard deduction or itemize your deductions. Itemize your deductions, for example, if you own a home a have a relatively large mortgage and mortgage interest payments. Use Schedule A from the Internal Revenue Service to calculate your itemized deductions. Enter your total itemized deductions under the "Tax and Credits." Take the standard deduction if you do not own a home. Look for the standard deduction amount for "Married Filing Jointly" in the left hand margin of your income tax form. Record that amount on your income tax form.
Subtract your itemized deductions or standard deduction from your adjusted gross income. Enter that figure on the last line under "Tax and Credits" on your income tax form.
Combine both your and your spouse's federal deductions. Check the tax tables in the middle of your instruction booklet to determine if you have overpaid or underpaid the IRS on your taxes. Pay the IRS the difference between the amount you owe in the tax tables and what you both had withheld for taxes. Pay the IRS $200, for example, if you and your spouse had $200 withheld, but owe $400 per the tax tables. Enter the amount of your refund if you overpaid the IRS during the year.
Sign and date your jointly-filed tax return. Mail your return to the address listed on the back of your instruction booklet.
Items you will need
- 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ instruction booklet
- 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ form
- Schedule A form
- Schedule B form
- W-2 forms
- 1099 forms
- You will need to use "Schedule C" if you and your spouse owned a business full-time or part-time. Schedule C is for reporting all deductible business expenses. Add up your business expenses. Subtract these expenses from your sales or revenue to figure your net profit. Enter your business profit or loss under the "Income" section of your tax form.
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