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4 Answers

Married filing jointly, one spouse working?

Asked by: lpliskin 759 views YA Discussion

My spouse will be receiving a 1099 next year with an amount of $ 1800 as income. That is the ONLY reportable income he has. Is this considered “working”?? I.e., can I file “married filing jointly, one spouse working”?

We were just married this month, and I am looking at a W-4 and thinking about how to file my taxes this next year.
Sorry, I forgot he worked in a restaurant earlier this year, but no longer. Does that make a difference?

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4 Answers



  1. Rich S on Dec 27, 2012 Reply

    Emma, my wife and I have gone through this before. One year she worked very little so we were told we didnt have to claim that income. Turns out even though it was less than $ 2 grand we needed to claim it. Only advice I have from experience is anything yours or his social is tagged to, then claim it. This is not a professional answer just our experience.

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  2. tro on Dec 27, 2012 Reply

    when you file married jointly it means that each spouse has equal share of any of the income(deductions, etc) it doesn’t matter who works or doesn’t work, it is a JOINT return
    if he gets a 1099 M that means he files this income on Sch C and he might owe self employment tax, Sch SE on this income(filing jointly you both are liable)
    if this is the only income of the couple, there likely will be no income tax but this will entitle them to some EIC, a very small amount
    since you recently married, it might be wise to look at filing married separately, the limitations probably do not apply to you ie. children which the separate returns disallow EIC and you probably don’t itemize so that is not a consideration

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  3. Bostonian In MO on Dec 27, 2012 Reply

    There’s no such status as “married filing jointly, one spouse working.” A married couple can ALWAYS file a joint return regardless of their employment status or who earns what income or how. I know several couples who don’t work at all, yet have more than enough income to be required to file returns and pay taxes.

    In most cases you will pay less tax by filing a joint return. That’s particularly true when only one has any income or when one earns substantially more than the other or when any children are involved.

    It should go without saying that you must claim all income of both spouses when filing a joint return.

    What you put on your W-4 has nothing to do with how you will file your return. It’s the other way around, actually. How you will file generally will dictate what you’ll put on your W-4. If he won’t be working next year at all, you can safely file your W-4 as Married and claim 3 allowances. If he will be working next year (or might be working, you should play it safe early on) you should each file your W-4s as “Married but withhold at the higher Single rate” and claim one allowance each.

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  4. loves christmas lights on Dec 27, 2012 Reply

    well he would have to pay taxes if its required, never work for 1099 jobs to avoid this, hed pay fed and state taxes. you get him as a deduction if you file together, so u do benefit that way. together is best and what one of the benefits of marriage are, although if people try to rip off the irs, the person working in the home that person is billed for taxes. he may not need to file if hes under a certain amount, check the irs website in mid jan for any changes, each year there are changes in rules and amounts. or you can look at the tax instructions from last year. I think he does have to file this, you or him but you will help offset and maybe even take his owed to nothing, you will get to claim the 5500 per person deduction which is way more than the amount he made. its worth looking into ok.

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