Is filing separate the same as single ? Tax refund ?

So at work there was a bulletin post that was talking about updating a new w4 form I kept everything the same though because nothing had changed. But when I got the following paystub after I updated, it said “separate” instead of “single” (options said single or married filing seperate so I picked that one because I’m single) and instead of the usual 1 under federal and 1 under California (I also have no dependents , it’s just me” it had nothing, not even a “0” under federal but it still had a “1” under California. I later realized that it unnecessary to update my w4 since I didn’t have to change anything , I read it as though it was mandatory. I emailed HR about it and they said everything looks the same except it now says seperate. What I’m asking if will my tax refund be effected later in 2021 when I do my taxes since it has nothing under federal and it says seperate now ? Thank you

4 Answers

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  • 1 month ago

    The standard deduction and tax rates are the same for single and married filing separately. There are many differences in available credits and deductions.

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  • 1 month ago

    If you are separate you have to identify your spouse. If you are single you have no spouse.

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  • Shay
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    The thing that matters the most is how your taxes are withheld from your paycheck.

    The choice you make determines what standard deduction is being used to estimate your tax liability.  

    The standard deduction for a single person and the standard deduction for married, filing separately IS THE SAME.  

    Therefore, your taxes are being estimated for the correct standard deduction even though  you made the other choice.

    Now, I am not sure why it says nothing under federal while still saying 1 under California.  Claiming 0  will give a higher refund.  Claiming 1 is also usually still safe but will create a smaller refund - you get to keep more in your pocket.

    It might be best to turn in a new form sometime soon.  A few checks at the current listing won't hurt anything and waiting a little bit might be less of a hassle for your HR department.  Just turn in a new form and tell them you think you made a mistake on the other one.

    When you file your actual taxes - that is when it is most important to list your actual single status correctly.  On the W-4 form, that is just for estimating how much to withhold and does not actually have to match your actual filing status.  

    And - yes - for actually filing taxes, the rules are very different for MFS compared to filing as single.  (but - as I mentioned - the standard deduction would be the same)

  • Judy
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    No, has very different rules.

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