All information entered on the federal return flows to the attached state return(s). It is not possible to completely calculate the difference between filing a state return jointly or separately without actually completing the returns to compare.
Use the steps below to do the comparison by preparing multiple returns in TaxAct®:
TaxAct Return #1 - Spouse A and Spouse B prepare a federal return with filing status Married Filing Joint, including both spouse's information. Attach to this federal return a state return as Married Filing Jointly.
TaxAct Return #2 - Spouse A prepares a federal return with filing status Married Filing Separate, including only Spouse A's information. Attach a state return to this federal return so Spouse A's information will flow to the state return.
TaxAct Return #3 - Spouse B prepares a federal return with filing status Married Filing Separate, including only Spouse B's information. Attach a state return to this federal return so Spouse B's information will flow to the state return.
The combined federal form (in TaxAct Return #1) should equal the two federal forms that were completed for each taxpayer separately.
Compare the total refunds/amount due to determine the best filing status for you to use on your federal and state return.
Note: there are some states that allow Married Filing Separately on a combined return where the above instructions would not apply.
TaxAct users can also utilize the Joint vs. Separate Analysis report in the review steps. After you have finished entering information into your joint return, click the Review tab, then Reports directly below the tabs. Continue to the screen titled Joint vs. Separate Analysis and click Review Joint vs. Separate (or Yes if this is your first time on the screen) to enter information for the report. When you are finished, click View Report to see a complete analysis, including estimated refund amounts for each filing status.