Married Taxpayers and Estimated Taxes

If you qualify to make joint estimated tax payments, apply the rules discussed here to your joint estimated income.

You and your spouse can qualify to make joint estimated tax payments even if you are not living together.

However, you and your spouse cannot make joint estimated tax payments if:

  • You are legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance,
  • You and your spouse have different tax years, or
  • Either spouse is a nonresident alien (unless you elected to be treated as a resident alien). See Choosing Resident Alien Status in Publication 519.

If you do not qualify to make joint estimated tax payments, apply these rules to your separate estimated income.

Whether you and your spouse make joint estimated tax payments or separate payments, it will not affect your choice of filing a joint tax return or separate returns.

Separate Returns and Joint Returns and Estimated Taxes

If you plan to file a joint return with your spouse for 2013, but you filed separate returns for 2012, your 2012 tax is the total of the tax shown on your separate returns.

If you plan to file a separate return for 2013, but you filed a joint return for 2012, your 2012 tax is your share of the tax on the joint return.

A separate return is filed when you file as single, head of household, or married filing separately.

Figuring Your Share of the Tax on a Joint Return for Estimated Tax Purposes

  • First, figure the tax both you and your spouse would have paid had you filed separate returns for 2012 using the same filing status used for 2013.
  • Next, multiply the tax on the joint return by the following fraction:
    • The tax you would have paid had you filed a separate return divided by
    • The total tax you and your spouse would have paid had you filed separate returns

Example:

Joe and Heather filed a joint return for 2012 showing taxable income of $48,500 and a tax of $6,524. Of the $48,500 taxable income, $40,100 was Joe's and the rest was Heather's.

For 2013, they plan to file married filing separately. Joe figures his share of the tax on the 2010 joint return as follows:

  • Tax on $40,100 based on separate return: $6,589
  • Tax on $8,400 based on separate return: $886
  • Total tax based on separate returns: $7,475
  • Joe's percentage of total ($6,589 ÷ $7,475)88% Joe's share of tax on joint return
  • ($6,524 × 88%) $5,741

Higher Income Taxpayers and Estimated Taxes

If your AGI for 2013 was more than $150,000 ($75,000 if your filing status is married filing a separate return), substitute 110% for 100% under the General Rule. This rule does not apply to farmers and fishermen.

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