Many aspects of life may be affected (and usually are affected) after two people get married. You can bet on taxes being on that list. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind after saying "I do."
When an individual's name changes due to marriage, the change should be reported immediately to the Social Security Administration (SSA). This is because the name reported on a person’s tax return must match exactly with the name on file with the SSA. If the name does not match, there could be a delay in any tax refund issued. To update your information, file Form SS-5 (Application for a Social Security Card) with the SSA.
Change in Address
If you move or change addresses after the marriage, the IRS and U.S. Postal Service need to know. You can fill out IRS Form 8822 (Change of Address) to inform the IRS of the address change. To notify the U.S. Postal Service, go to USPS.com or your local post office to place a request to have your mail forwarded to your new address.
Review Tax Withholding
After getting married, couples should use the IRS Withholding Estimator to determine whether any adjustments should be made to their Form W-4 withholding status (most individuals will likely need to make some adjustments). Individuals can adjust their tax withholding at any time during the year by completing IRS Form W-4 (Employee’s Withholding Allowance) and submitting the form to their employer.
Consider Filing status
Even if married, individuals can choose to file their federal income taxes jointly or separately each year. Filing jointly is usually more beneficial, but the best practice is to calculate the total taxes owed under both filing options to determine which results in the lowest overall tax liability. Note also that even if you wait until December 31st to get married, the law considers you married for the entire year for tax purposes.
Check out the following resources for additional information:
About the Author
Lars Kroner is the Chief Operating Officer for MyTaxRights, LLC. As COO, Mr. Kroner leads MTR's educational outreach initiatives that teach individuals how to self-prepare and file their taxes using free web-based tax preparation services. Mr. Kroner earned his Master's in Business Administration from American University's Kogod School of Business and he is the Project Manager of Growth for a D.C.-based fitness company. He is also the co-founder of the Center for Advancement of Tax Equity, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that sponsors tax education and outreach initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life and economic conditions for individuals from marginalized communities.