How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Lane Your Own Question
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 11999
Experience:  Law Degree, specialization in Tax Law and Corporate Law, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial & Tax advice since 1986
Type Your Tax Question Here...
Lane is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Can I switch the primary taxpayer on the federal return to

This answer was rated:

Can I switch the primary taxpayer on the federal return to my wife? It seems more appropriate as she is the primary earner, and this year I will not even have income. So I would like to switch to her as the primary on our tax returns.

NPVAdvisor : Hi, I can help with this ...

so can this be done?

NPVAdvisor : You could, but there is really no distinction made by the IRS, in terms of one person being primary ... It really just comes down to filing status
NPVAdvisor : married filing jointly is different from sing, for example
NPVAdvisor : different standard deduction
NPVAdvisor : But putting one person first makes no difference in the math at all
NPVAdvisor : Married filing separately (another filing status) is almost never the best because of so many credits and other things not being available for that status
NPVAdvisor : butstatus but, really, married filing jointly is married filing jointly, income is simply added, both of your eligible deductions are used...
NPVAdvisor : make sense?
NPVAdvisor :

Just to be sure you understand, there is no "primary tax payer"


Yes. Thanks. It just seemed weird to me that I was listed as primary when she is the primary breadwinner, and she is also listed as primary taxpayer on our local returns. So maybe I will switch to her as primary on the federal return as well to keep it consistent.


Does that seem reasonable?

NPVAdvisor :

And you most definitely want to continue to file jointly for TWO big reasons

NPVAdvisor :

(1) standard deduction is larger

NPVAdvisor :

(2) tax is lower on same levels of income

NPVAdvisor :

Sure, there's no problem with that, but it won't really make any difference ... again it's the filing status that really matters


Thanks. I just wanted to make sure. I'll keep filing jointly, and as long as there is no problem in switching her to primary on the federal as well I will do that. Ithught it might be a problem because she has a different ssn of course, but if it is no problem then that is fine, right?

NPVAdvisor :

Yes, that's fine. Both socials will be there either way



Lane and other Tax Specialists are ready to help you

Thanks so much!

To ask for me again, say “For NPVAdvisor” at the beginning of your question


Go here: … and enter your question in the box.

Thanks again,