Who Pays Tax on a Joint Account?
Who Pays Tax on a Joint Account?

There are both upsides and downsides to having a joint bank account. And, when you open a joint bank account, the last thing on your mind is how joint bank account taxes work.

In certain circumstances, joint bank account taxes are simple to calculate, but in others, the situation may be more complicated. So, who is in charge of paying taxes in a shared bank account?

The answer to this question depends on whether one account owner assumes responsibility for the tax debt or if all account holders pay their fair part.


How do interest taxes work on joint bank accounts?

Banks must report interest generated on bank accounts in excess of $10 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) using Form 1099-INT each year.

The IRS requires this essentially so that people pay taxes on the interest they earn. Many people would undoubtedly forget to record and pay taxes on this income if this form did not exist.

To record interest income, Form 1099-INT only allows for one beneficiary and one Social Security number. This means that the financial institution cannot use the same form to issue the 1099-INT to both joint account holders.

Banks are also unable to transmit two 1099-INT forms with the total interest earned. This would result in the income being reported twice, which would confuse the IRS.It would also mean that two people would have to pay taxes on the same income.

At this point, the bank will most likely issue a 1099-INT to the primary account holder with the total interest earned for the year. The secondary or joint account holder likely won’t receive a 1099-INT from the bank at all.

Nominee interest occurs when one person receives interest on behalf of another. When it comes to taxes, the person who receives the interest has two options- full liability and split liability.

Full liability

To begin, you have the option of paying all of the taxes on the interest generated.

If the amount of interest reported on the joint bank account is small, it may be more cost-effective to pay the tax on the interest yourself.

You may have to pay a little more in taxes, but it will make your life a lot easier. If you’re married or the joint owner is a family member, it might not be worth the trouble.

You don’t have to bother about filling out extra documents if you choose to pay taxes on the interest yourself.

The joint owner is also exempt from paying interest taxes. However, if the account has a large enough balance, it is feasible to earn a substantial amount of interest. In some circumstances, you may be required to pay more than just a small amount of tax on your interest income.

Split liability

If this is the case, you should consider splitting the revenue, even if the joint owner is a family member or loved one. You’ll need to file out a Form 1099-INT to share the interest money.

You will include your information as the payer and the information of the joint owner as of the recipient. 

Make sure to just indicate the portion for which the joint owner is accountable, not the entire amount. This will notify the IRS that you are failing to submit the reported share of the interest on your tax return.

It also informs the IRS that the joint owner and recipient of the 1099-INT will report their portion of the income on their tax return. The form must be submitted to both the individual receiving the interest (the joint owner) and the IRS.

You must also file Form 1096, which is a summary of all 1099 forms you send to the IRS.

The disadvantages of owning a joint bank account 

– When you open a joint bank account, both parties have equal ownership of the account. That implies they have the ability to entirely drain your account, leaving you high and dry. Joint bank accounts can sometimes put you in unexpectedly difficult situations. Because both account holders have 100 percent ownership, the assets in the account may be vulnerable to a variety of unexpected problems.

– Account Holders have the right to 100% of the assets if a joint account holder is sued. This means that even if you are not the one being sued, your assets may be lost as a result of the litigation. Similarly, if a joint account holder falls behind on payments or child support, the assets in the bank account may be utilized to pay off an obligation that isn’t yours.

Final Thoughts

It shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out how to record interest income collected from a shared bank account. If you don’t mind paying the whole amount of tax, the primary account holder can simply disclose all of the income on their tax return. It is always a good idea to consult with a tax specialist about your specific situation.

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