Author Topic: Oy! Submitting income-based student loan plan. Just married. File separately?!  (Read 427 times)

ejmyrow

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Dear Awesome Mustachians,
Doh! Just realized today is last day to submit recertification of income for my income-based student loan plan. I'm doing 10 year public service loan forgiveness (3 years into it) so I'm going for low payments with income-based plan. I got married this summer.
I'm in the $38,701 to $82,500 22% tax bracket, but both my spouse and I are in the 12% bracket once you factor in our contributions to retirement accounts. (He makes somewhat less than I do). He has no student loans. We have no kids. I don't qualify for the PAYE plan.  I remember hearing that even if we file separately it won't help with my loans much...

I'm pretty sure I should submit pay stubs instead of letting them pull my most recent tax return b/c not too long ago when I submitted pay stubs, they reduced my monthly payment b/c my tax sheltered contributions were higher than they were before. Any disagreement to that?

Maybe if I let them use my recent tax return, they'll use that (which shows me unmarried) and they won't take my husband's income into account... or maybe I'll get to another screen and then they'll ask for his tax return... 

Should we file our taxes jointly?

Many thanks for any advice!!
Warmly,
E2



ejmyrow

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PS - Someone said that since we live in California, we have "community property" laws and have to report our spouse's income on tax returns anyway... so it doesn't matter if we file separately.... I'm hoping they are wrong. Anyone know?

FireAnt

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I am 9 years into the loan repayment plan! It was more advantageous to us when I filed jointly with my husband when he had student loans as well due to all the tax breaks you get when you marry filing jointly (MFJ). This past year we paid off all his loans and when I put in figures for MFJ and MFS, it worked better in my favor to do MFS due to the significantly higher income it appeared we had when his loans are no longer considered.

Some other considerations if you want to take advantage of the MFJ tax breaks--- put as much money into your retirement as possible. Also if you have a Health Savings Account-- put as much as you can there. Those both come out pre-tax and won't count towards your total income.

Hope this answered your question!