Your Life

Your Life

Major life milestones often have a major tax impact. Changes in your marital status, having a baby or adopting a child can have significant impact on your taxes. This is the place to ask questions about dependents, real estate, and other various scenarios that play a significant role in what taxes you pay.

Posts: 1
Registered: ‎01-04-2018

Married in 2016, but claim 2 of my 3 children from a previous marriage, HOW to file?

Hi there, 


I was married in 2016  I claim 2 of my 3 children from a previous marriage as dependents.  My new husband and I both work full time jobs and our salary is comparable.   Once W-2's are in?  We can see who made more. 


Does it matter whose name is put down first?  Do I claim him as a dependent?  Or does he claim me (and my two children) as dependents.  Does it need to be my name first because I am the biological parent?  We can both just file together... right?  


Also?  Am I stil able to use the easy forms online?  LOL.  We are a straightforward tax return this year.  We don't own a home or have any other income/interest/investments to claim. 


Any information is appreciated.

Trusted Council Member
Posts: 6,191
Registered: ‎02-23-2016

Re: Married in 2016, but claim 2 of my 3 children from a previous marriage, HOW to file?

Hi betzeejoy,




Welcome to the H&R Block community.




So when you are married your best option is almost always to file a joint tax return with your spouse.  Spouses cannot be dependents of each other, but rather you simply get two personal exemptions instead of one and you get double the standard deduction for a single taxpayer.  The kids will be claimed on the joint return as dependents of you and your spouse.


I noticed that you said that your salaries are similar.  If you either of you or both of you earn more than $75,000 in a year you might want to compare the MFJ and MFS options using a tax calculator.  The married & filing separately status can be advantageous in situations where there are higher incomes and you are thus not eligible for most or all of the child-related credits.  This is because if you report your incomes individually you may end up in a lower tax bracket which means lower tax and perhaps the ability to claim a credit or two that you couldn't claim based on your joint income (although most credits will still be unavailable due to MFS restrictions).


Also, if you did not file jointly for 2016 then you can absolutely change your status to MFJ for your 2016 tax return if it benefits you.  More than likely it will benefit you to do so.  Your status is determined on December 31st, so if you are legally married on that date then you can file jointly.  You can still claim any additional refund that you are due for 2016 should you amend your tax return and have a refund due as the outcome.



If you have any other questions I'll be glad to help.



Senior Tax Advisor (Tampa, FL)