I have spent the entire Saturday analyzing my tax returns, both Federal and State, first I did a Joint return with the Federal we came out even that is we do not owe the tax man and he owes us very little, not even enough for a very good bottle of wine. However with the sate that was different we owe almost five hundred dollars, so I decided to evaluate the option of Married Filing Separate, at the back of my mind I know that in the Federal Tax return this is the most expensive option, but there could be savings on the State return.
I allocated all the income between my wife and I, that is whatever income is attached to her social security number belongs to her, then I analyzed the Schedule A deductions, this gets a little tricky, like the mortgage interest expense and Real Estate Taxes is attached to my social security number therefore I had to split those between us. Expenses such as medical, dental, eye glasses we have our separate bills for the year and as faith would have it all the medications are mine. I had to pay special attention to the medical expenses because we are residents of Ohio and there is a credit for medical expenses on Ohio Tax Line 47. Please note there are many good Tax Return software on the market which could have done this automatically, if I had use one like TurboTax it would have taken me a lot less time, but it snowed today and I am confined to the basement of our home.
After refiguring both federal and State, the result shows it would be a very bad idea to file Married Separate for the Federal return, however on the State return was completely different, we both ended up with small refunds instead of a liability of almost five hundred. On our combine return filing joint we had an effective Tax Rate of almost 5% while on the Married Filing Separate return my effective tax rate is 4.5% and hers 3.5% although collectively we have a total higher rate on the Separate returns we did not owe any State Tax as in the Joint Return which has a lower rate.
I was very amazed and I checked it several times, then I logged on to the State of Ohio Tax Web page and entered the information for two separate returns and Walla I was right all that work pays off sometimes it is better to File Married Filing Separate for the State return. Although I am not a Tax Expert I found the process was not that difficult our return was a simple clear cut return with just my wife and I, can I claim the dog?, OH the dog belongs to my youngest child Dang remember a pet is not a dependent.
Married Filing Separate vs. Filing Jointly by Steve