What's the definition of Term Spouse Works?

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  • 8
    "(This section applies to you if you have) multiple jobs or (if your) spouse works"
    – ikegami
    Commented May 10, 2020 at 7:46
  • I am not sure if this is a money question or English language learners or English language & usage
    – Mawg
    Commented May 10, 2020 at 8:36
  • 6
    Not to mention that the eaxct meaning and purpose of the section is very cleary described right adjacent to the title. I have a feeeling that it could have been much easier to read it than to make a screenshot and to write a question about it. :-))
    – Gábor
    Commented May 10, 2020 at 10:02

2 Answers 2


"Spouse Works" is not a term. It is an incomplete sentence. The complete sentence would be "Your spouse works." or "My spouse works." This means, "your/my husband or wife (spouse) has a job (works)".

The creators of the form left out words in the naming of the section.

Whether your spouse works is relevant because your tax rate depends on your total household income if you are filing taxes jointly (together) with your spouse.

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    Or, as the form itself says, you "are married filing jointly and your spouse also works." Commented May 9, 2020 at 16:45
  • 6
    It's just a section title, it's not intended to be a sentence, just a summary.
    – Barmar
    Commented May 9, 2020 at 23:57

This block is to determine whether taxes should be withheld as if the job for which you are filling out the W-4 is your only household income, or whether there are multiple jobs contributing to household income. The shorthand "Multiple Jobs or Spouse Works" is spelled out in more detail immediately at right:

you (1) hold more than one job at a time [i.e. multiple jobs because you personally work two or more jobs]

or (2) are married filing jointly and your spouse also works [i.e. multiple jobs because both you and your husband or wife have a job]

If you are married but your spouse is not otherwise a U.S. tax filer, you would probably file as Married Filing Separately rather than Married Filing Jointly, and your spouse's job would not be counted here, but you would need to review your own tax situation to deterimine your best option. See for example

  • I don't see anything in the question indicating that the OP's spouse is or is not a citizen. Commented May 10, 2020 at 0:01

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