Blakes7 saidLook up "the marriage penalty". Married couples filing jointly or separately pay more. We sat with the accountant for an hour.
That's not always true. It has to do with how much each couple makes. If they make fairly close to the same amount then yes, it throws them into a high tax bracket, however if one makes a fair amount more than the other, they tend to pay less on the combined income than a single person making that same amount.
Additionally you have to consider things like housing where a single tax payer carrying a mortgage has to pay all the expenses, upkeep and taxes on that residence whereas the couple with two incomes essentially are each responsible for about half of the costs each. Meaning that their daily living expenses are much less than the single tax payer would have.
It's not as easy as saying one is more beneficial than the other as it seems to depend on the income of those filing. I'm guessing that by combining your incomes together you were pushed up into the next tax bracket whereas if you filed separately, each of you would be back in the lower bracket. It also depends on your deductions and how those would be split if you file separately. Standard deductions vs itemization and which filer would claim which of the formulas.
Definitely makes a difference for some, but not all. Still worth trying various ways to see which either benefits you the most or is the least costly of the two evils. Sounds like yours ended up being the later. I just finished mine and was quite happy compared to last year where capital gains killed me as I bought a condo that closed on December 31st, so no interest to offset the gains…..SUCKED!