First comes love, then comes marriage, then come taxes! If you’re one of the thousands of new couples married this spring and summer, get ready to embark on the adventure of marriage and taxes. The federal government provides many financial benefits to married couples, an it can be a little confusing how to go about getting them. Here’s a rundown of who your need to update on your new marital status and how to do it.
1. Social Security Administration One of the most essential things for marriage and taxes is to make sure you name and social security number match. If you’ve changed your name after getting married, be sure to alert the Social Security Administration. How: File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. The form is available on SSA’s website www.ssa.gov, by calling 800-772-1213, or visiting a SSA office.
2. Notify the IRS of a change of address Fill out IRS Form 8822, Change of Address, to let the IRS know you’ve moved. How: Download Form 8822 from www.IRS.gov or order it by calling 800-TAX-FORM
3. U.S. Postal Service You’ll want to make sure your mail – especially mail from the IRS – is sent to your new address. How: Submit a forwarding request at usps.com or visit your local post office. When doing so online, USPS gives you moving coupons and information about your new neighborhood.
4. Your employer Let your employer know of your name and/or address change as soon as possible, and make sure you receive your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, after the end of the year.
5. Check your withholding qualification On common confusion on marriage and taxes: If you and your spouse both work, be prepared that your combined income may move you into a higher tax bracket. You’ll need to petition for different IRS witholding than you are used to. How: Use Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, to help determine the correct amount of withholding. 505 will also help you fill out a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. Fill out and print Form W-4 online and give it to your employer so s/he can withhold the correct amount from your pay.
6. Select the right tax form You can save a bundle of money and marriage perks by choosing your individual income tax form carefully. Newlywed taxpayers may have enough deductions to itemize their tax returns rather than taking the standard deduction. How: Claim your itemized deductions on Form 1040, NOT 1040A or 1040EZ.
7. Choose your filing status Your marital status as of Dec. 31 determines whether you will be considered married for that tax year, and you are allowed to file your federal income tax return either jointly or separately in any given year. You may want to experiment with filing one way on year, and the other way the next. In some cases, filing separately makes the most financial sense, but for most couples filing jointly provides the maximum benefits.
After your wedding comes the wedding bill and all your new financial obligations as a couple. You can get detailed advice from the IRS online. At the same time, this can be overwhelming. I always prefer talking to a real, live human being (like all members have at Power of Two). Try calling the IRS hotline at 1-800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676), or look up a tax advisor in your area.
Also remember financial topics need good communication skills. Brush up on how to communicate in a relationship to make sure you and your sew spouse are on the same page money-wise.
Source: Seven Tax Tips for Recently Married Taxpayers, IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2011-20. August 19, 2011.