The Internal Revenue Service gives married couples two options -- they can file jointly or file separately. Filing separately divides the income and makes each taxpayer responsible for his own taxes. Filing jointly combines everything, but opens the door to a wide variety of tax breaks and credits.
How Much Money Do You Have to Make to File Married Filing Jointly?
You do have to be married to file jointly, but even if you made just $100 last year you can still file with your spouse. Couples with significant taxable income benefit even more by filing jointly. If both spouses earn $50,000 a year and file separately, the couple owes approximately $5,500 each in taxes. A couple that made $100,000 and files jointly owes approximately $10,160. That's a tax savings of at least $900 minus any additional credits or deductions.
How Much Tax Preparers Charge for Married-Filing Jointly
The cost to file jointly can depend on your tax situation and who does them. What a “name brand” tax service charges is usually significantly different from the guy down the street. Tax preparers generally determine their prices by how complicated your taxes are. If you file jointly, have a child and two sources of income, your taxes will be cheaper than a couple in the same situation that files separately. Couples filing separately also need two tax returns, and that alone could potentially double the price.
What Percentage of Pay Should You Withhold if You Are Married & Filing Jointly?
Couples earning more than $45,000 should withhold at least 10 percent for taxes. That goes up with your combined income. A couple making between $98,301 and $170,300, for example, should be in the 25 percent range. The top withholding range is 35 percent, but that's for people filing jointly with incomes more than $415,951.
Can Two Unmarried People Who Are Common Law Married File Taxes Jointly?
Normally, the IRS doesn’t let couples who simply shack up together file jointly, but the rules change if you're in a common law marriage. Each state has its definitions for what entails such a union. For example, in Montana, if the couple can consent to the marriage, agree to be married, live together and have a reputation of being married, the law recognizes the couple as common-law married. If the state recognizes the marriage, so does the IRS for tax purposes.
Does Filing Jointly as Married Affect Your Food Stamps?
Taxes have little to do with your food stamps eligibility. If you're married and your partner lives with you, you have to claim his income when you apply. As of 2012, a couple with a combined income of less than $1,594 a month might be eligible for food stamps.
Angela M. Wheeland specializes in topics related to taxation, technology, gaming and criminal law. She has contributed to several websites and serves as the lead content editor for a construction-related website. Wheeland holds an Associate of Arts in accounting and criminal justice. She has owned and operated her own income tax-preparation business since 2006.