How Do I Prepare Taxes When Married and Filing Jointly?

Marriage comes with its benefits: You have a partner to help you get through life's challenges. One key benefit of being married is the ability to combine incomes to achieve financial goals. When filing your taxes as "married filing jointly," you also have financial advantages, including higher deductions, that will help reduce your taxable income.

Gather all tax forms for both you and your spouse, including W-2s, 1098s and any additional forms that either report income or justify tax credits and deductions. Load Form 1040 to start filling out your tax forms.

Fill out both names and Social Security numbers in the boxes provided at the top of the form. Check the Married Filing Jointly box under Filing Status. Check yourseIf and your spouse under the Exemptions area, and list any dependents, such as children, to determine your total number of exemptions.

Transfer the information from your W-2 and other income-related forms to the Income section. If you have forms listing deductions under the Adjusted Gross Income section, such as student loan interest or deductions for a health savings account, transfer the information there as well to get your adjusted gross income.

Decide whether you and your spouse plan to take the standard deduction or plan to list itemized deductions. If you own your home, you may benefit from itemizing. If you choose itemized deductions, fill out Schedule A to determine the deduction to list on Page 2 of your Form 1040.

Calculate your deductible exemption, which is the total number of exemptions you claimed on Page 1 times the exemption amount. Subtract that and your standard or itemized deduction from your adjusted gross income to determine your taxable income. Use the tax charts in your 1040 instructions to determine your tax due.

Transfer any additional figures that apply to your tax situation to the Taxes and Credits, Other Taxes and Payments section of your form. You may have to fill out additional IRS schedules and forms to determine the amounts for each line. Deduct or add amounts to your tax due as required. Both you and your spouse must sign the bottom of the form before submitting it.

Tip

  • You can also use 1040EZ or 1040A to complete your taxes as a married person, but keep in mind that the basic 1040 form includes all possible deductions and credits you can claim.

Warning

  • If you're unfamiliar with this process, consult with a tax professional before submitting your forms.
 

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