W4 withholdings for MFJ with two jobs and 1099 income

Ok, hopefully this is a super easy answer and I’m just overthinking it.

Does it matter whose paycheck federal tax withholdings come from if we’re MFJ?

My husband and I both work regular W2 jobs, and my husband does 1099 work on the side, with somewhat variable income from year to year (from a low of $6k to a high year of $25k, over the last few years). I enjoy budgeting and money stuff, so I also take care of all of the tax prep, and any adjustments to withholdings go through my paycheck.

I’m working on figuring out how to use the tables on W4 page 4 to account for average to high 1099 income, so I can spread the taxes out more smoothly throughout the year instead of using the IRS withholding calculator a zillion times. I just want to make sure that having all the extra withholdings made from my paycheck isn’t messing anything up. I’m the lower earner (it’s about 40/60), and the 1099 income is in his name.


Oh no, wait, the tax tables at the bottom of the W4 forms don’t work because self employment income is taxed differently :cry: Why is this so confusing?

I guess there are a lot of variables, when you think about it.

I have:

  • Two W2 incomes, with deductions for:
    • 401ks, HSA, DCFSA, and health care
  • One 1099 income
  • Interest from one savings account
  • Taxable dividends from three different investment accounts
  • Schedule K-1 income
  • Two 529 accounts, which are state tax deductible here
  • Kids in childcare

I always think of our money situation as not that complicated, but I guess it kind of is, for tax purposes.

Anyway, the question still stands. Can I make all of the deductions from my W2 paycheck, or is that going to cause issues?


I do not know the answer. I can tell you that we do MFJ and they do not usually take taxes out of SSDI, because it is under the limit for needing to pay taxes. However, since I do have income and we file MFJ we do have to pay taxes on the SSDI because our combined income ends up being too high for the SSDI to be untaxed. I have my W4 set up to take out enough taxes on my side that it will cover the taxes owed on the SSDI as well and that hasn’t been a problem for us.




From https://www.irs.gov/publications/p505#en_US_2023_publink1000194361

They also explicitly call out:

On https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/manage-taxes-for-your-gig-work


This part is why I was wondering if it mattered if it was my paycheck or his, since it’s all directed at a single reader. But I’m glad to know that it doesn’t matter :slight_smile:

I spent…a lot of time yesterday reading IRS publications, other random websites, and making a spreadsheet that I can adjust with our estimated 1099 income and arrive at mostly the right amount of income tax, assuming I know our AGI within a few thousand dollars. Far more time than I really needed, and more time than I had if I actually wanted to do my job well.

It will be much easier to know exactly how much I need to withhold for the rest of the year, though, theoretically. I guess I won’t be absolutely sure if it’s right unless I do the IRS withholding calculator again, or until 2024 tax time :sweat_smile:


Two suggestions if you don’t want to stay with the Excel spreadsheet route:

The first is to use an online calculator, like TurboTax Taxcaster.

Second, most online tax programs don’t charge until you are ready to file. You can set up a mock user account to use for estimates. Your actual taxes will be a little bit different, because the various numbers will be different for 2024, but it should get you in the ballpark.


Honestly it’s more that I have to bug my husband for his pay stubs, and he is always very put out by the effort, haha. Since our withholdings don’t really change throughout the year, unless someone gets a raise, the spreadsheet should be fairly accurate.

Not having a spreadsheet might reduce the time I spend looking at spreadsheets, though :slight_smile:

I already have a monthly budget spreadsheet, projected yearly income/savings/net worth spreadsheet, a 5 year plan spreadsheet for what we want to spend our money on long-term…mortgage amortization, car loan amortization :sweat_smile: I enjoy planning and knowing where I’m going, and that’s more than half of the reason that I’m bothered by the variability of the 1099 income/taxes. I hate that I was wrong in my projections. We do have plenty saved up to cover it, because I also put aside a percentage of the 1099 income for taxes “just in case”.

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