Don’t let a tax mistake ruin newlywed bliss
When people get married their tax situation often changes. A taxpayer’s marital status as of December 31 determines their tax filing options for the entire year, but that’s not all newlyweds need to know.
Here’s a tax checklist for newly married couples:
Name and address changes
- Name – When a name changes through marriage, it’s important to report that change to the Social Security Administration. The name on a person’s tax return must match what is on file at the SSA. If it doesn’t, it could delay any tax refund. To update information, taxpayers should file Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. It is available on SSA.gov, by phone at 800-772-1213 or at a local SSA office.
- Address – If marriage means a change of address, the IRS and U.S. Postal Service need to know. To do that, people should complete and send the IRS Form 8822, Change of Address. Taxpayers should also notify the postal service to forward their mail by going online at USPS.com or visiting their local post office.
- After getting married, couples should consider changing their withholding. Newly married couples must give their employers a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance within 10 days. If both spouses work, they may move into a higher tax bracket or be affected by the additional Medicare tax. They can use the Tax Withholding Estimator on IRS.gov to help complete a new Form W-4. Taxpayers should review Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, for more information.
- Married people can choose to file their federal income taxes jointly or separately each year. While filing jointly is usually more beneficial, it’s best to figure the tax both ways to find out which makes the most sense. Taxpayers should remember, if a couple is married as of December 31, the law says they’re married for the whole year for tax purposes.
- All taxpayers should be aware of and avoid tax scams. The IRS will never initiate contact using email, phone calls, social media or text messages. First contact generally comes in the mail. Those wondering if they owe money to the IRS can view their tax account information on IRS.gov to find out.