I'm a fan of your blog, and have not been able to find an answer to this question.
I'm a graphic designer who has been working as an independent contractor for a small publishing company/printer for almost 4 years. I also do other freelance work from time to time. Until a couple months ago, I also had a part time job as a regular w-2 employee at night, a job I quit after I had a baby in August.
My question is, I just got married in May and my husband has a regular w-2 job. How should we file? jointly or separately? Where would we get our biggest advantage?
Last year I did my own taxes online. I usually owe money, and deduct as many things as I can including home office and mortgage interest, etc. while my husband does a 1040 ez and has been getting a refund. I know one of us will probably get a refund because of the baby too. I'm just not sure who should claim her if we file separately.
Winter Park, FL
Dear Confused Jessica,
Without actual numbers there is no way to determine whether filing jointly or separately would be more or less beneficial. Generally it is more beneficial to file jointly.
Every money transaction that ends up on your tax return and to whom that transaction applies impacts your total tax.
Things such as:
** Investment income and which spouse owns the account
** Who owns the house on which you are deducting interest and real estate tax
** How much is student loan interest and who is paying off a student loan
** Who has higher medical expenses, if any
** What are the costs of child care
** How much does each give to charity