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Sandi Hargrove, SkyHawks
Sandi Hargrove, SkyHawks, Master Tax Advisor, Enrolled Agent
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 1257
Experience:  I am a Master Tax Advisor and Enrolled Agent. I have 40 years experience. Trucking specialist.
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What do I claim on W-4 if I just got married?

Customer Question

I just got married. What do I claim on my W-4? My wife and I combined make over 150k per year and are both unclear about how we should file on our respective W-4.

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Sandi Hargrove, SkyHawks replied 8 years ago.
Generally you are on the right track. Two exemptions are suggested for a married couple unless you have high Schedule A deductions (mortgage interest, points, real estate tax, charity deductions, medical deductions MORE than 2% of your adjusted gross income or work expenses MORE than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income).

The spouse with the highest income should claim married and 1 exemption. The spouse with the lowest income should claim married filing at the single rate and -0- exemption. I often suggest -0- exemptions for both spouses in at least the first full year of marriage to ensure no balance due is generated. IRS will refund any overpaid amount as your refund.

My husband and myself each claim married/single rate and -0- exemptions to ensure we have a nice refund. This is allowing IRS to use our withheld tax interest free for the tax season, but we like it that way!
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.

So, do you suggest that I claim one allowance in line 5 and then check the married, but withhold at a higher single rate in Box 3 and my wife do the same thing? Or, I can claim two total deductions on Line 7 and my wife can claim one total on Line 7? I guess I’m not sure which one is better.

Expert:  Sandi Hargrove, SkyHawks replied 8 years ago.
I do suggest you claim 1 exemption in box #5 and married in box #3. Your wife's box #5 should be -0- and box #3 should be married withholding at the single rate.