Newly married couples often feel the thrill that accompanies this major life change for quite some time. There might seem to be limitless possibilities open to both of you, and you’re probably eagerly discussing what your life together will look like – from changing your name after marriage to the joy of having children together.
While marriage often conjures up all kinds of romantic feelings, there are also some practical matters you should attend to when you reach this point. In particular, you’ll need to look at some tax tasks that go along with sharing your life with someone in this way.
We’re going to talk about three of them right now.
1. Filing Status
It makes sense to take certain steps in particular monetary situations. For instance, you might consider debt consolidation for medical bills if you have several outstanding ones. If you’ve just gotten married and tax time is coming up, you’ll probably want to think about filing jointly. It’s a logical move for several reasons.
If you decide to file jointly, you can apply for several tax credits and deductions for which you’re not eligible if you file separately. You also only receive a standard deduction of $12,550 if you opt to file separately. File together, and the number is $24,800.
One final reason to file together is that there are more limitations for separate filers regarding capital loss and IRA contribution deductions. There are more liberal rules in these two areas if you file together.
2. Paycheck Withholding
Once you marry, you’ll also want to examine how much federal tax you’re withholding from each paycheck you receive. You can give your employer a W-4 that states your withholding adjustment within ten days after you marry your spouse.
If you go to IRS.gov, there is a Tax Withholding Estimator tool that will likely come in handy. You might try it out before handing over your newly-adjusted W-4. You can use it to modify what you’re withholding, and you can also see approximately how much to expect back next year as a refund.
You should also look at the additional Medicare tax you’ll likely have to pay if you and your spouse file together. Your joint income might put you in a higher tax bracket if you both work.
3. Personal Information Changes
Finally, you should report any name change to the Social Security Administration. The name on your tax return should always match the one the SSA has on file. If those two names don’t match, it can result in a delay if you’re owed a refund.
You will need to let both the US postal service and the IRS know if you’re moving into your spouse’s home. That address change can be reported to the IRS by using Form 8822.
Don’t Neglect These Three Critical Tax-Related Steps
Once you’re married, it’s relatively simple to make the changes we’ve mentioned. You don’t need to decide whether you’re filing jointly or separately until tax time. It’s not always better to file together, but it often is for the reasons we mentioned.
You can change your paycheck withholding amount with your employer and the IRS if you feel that’s appropriate. The Tax Withholding Estimator tool should help you. As for name changes, you can report those to the SSA. You’ll report any address change to the US Postal Service and the IRS.
Once you’ve done all that, you’ll know you’ve taken care of the tax tasks that go along with starting your life as part of a married couple. With those chores out of the way, you can concentrate on things like your honeymoon and planning for the future with your spouse by your side.