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Is it time for me to file jointly with my wife?

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  • Is it time for me to file jointly with my wife?

    I want to make sure that I'm not overlooking anything.

    I'll be completing residency and working at a hospitalist at an academic institution with roughly a gross income of $220k. I'm still going to stay in PSLF doing PAYE as I may later pursue fellowship. I have roughly $180k in student loan debt.

    My wife makes approx $45k a year and has $80k in student loans which don't qualify for PSLF. Last year we filed MFS to keep my payments down. However, this year I'm thinking I should go ahead and file MFJ. I'll resubmit my 2016 tax statement in Oct. 2017 for the PAYE re-calculation.

    I'm going to try to put money away in savings, but we are going to be more focused on getting her student debt cleared in the next year.

  • #2
    What are your interest rates, and what was your principal when you started repayment?  This is how the 10-yr std payment and therefore the partial financial hardship are calculated.  With those disparate incomes, the tax hit to filing separately is pretty high.  If you are not far (or, obv, are above) the PFH cap, then there is no longer any benefit from filing separately, and you should file jointly.

    Define "put money away in savings."  What do you plan on doing?  What's your overall plan for, like, money and stuff?


    • #3
      I really don't like MFS in general bc even if you're 'saving money' you're still choosing to pay more in taxes instead of pay more in loans which at least reduces your student loan balance. In a world of uncertainty I like MFJ pursuing PSLF but setting yourself up for the possibility of it not being there with saving in side accounts, maxing retirement, etc.