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Lev, Tax Advisor
Category: Tax
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Experience:  Taxes, Immigration, Labor Relations
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I need to know if I my fiance & I will pay more or less taxes

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I need to know if I my fiance & I will pay more or less taxes if we marry early & file as a married couple. We live in CA. He will close the year at about 80k and myself around 70k. We don't own property & have little if any other exemptions etc. I know he has contributed 10% to his 401k & took out a 3k 401k loan last month that he is paying back. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Lev replied 7 years ago.

I would need to make some assumptions... let me know if any should be corrected.


you both file as single and neither has dependents.

you both use standard deduction

neither of you has any additional credits or deductions.


your finance's adjusted gross income $80,000 - $8000(401k contribution) = $72,000, and gross tax obligations ~$12,100

your's adjusted gross income $70,000, and gross tax obligations ~$11,600

Total tax obligations ~$23,700


If you file joint tax return - result will be the same.


However, if any of you itemize, claim student loan interest, deduction, educational expenses, have dependents, etc - result might be different... ... let me know if any should be corrected.



Customer: replied 7 years ago.
That is pretty much correct. I thought married people saved money on taxes? I was hoping we could get a 5k refund in exchange for running on down to City Hall ;)
Expert:  Lev replied 7 years ago.

Married couple do have some tax saving if they have different taxable income or one spouse doesn't have income at all - in your situation income amounts are very close and even if there will be some saving - that would be minimal.


From my practice - most married couples pay more taxes compare if they would not be married.

Some examples:

- if you have educational expenses and claim a credit - you will not be able to use the credit filing joint return because Adjusted Gross income will be higher.

- if you claim job related expenses - there is a floor limit of 2% AGI - in your situation $70,000*2%=$1400 - means only expenses above $1400 are deductible; filing jointly - the limit will be $142000%2%=$2840 - means you would loose $1440 deductions.


As I mentioned above - if you are using any specific tax credits or deductions - they might be affected.


You might know about "Marriage Tax Penalty" - means almost all married couple owe more taxes than if they were not married. In 2003 the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 eliminated difference in standard deductions and corrected tax brackets. However that provision set to be reinstated in 2010, unless Congress makes tax relief permanent.


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