Many of the most popular wedding months include May, June, July, August, September, and October. If you have recently married, it is important to consider the tax implications of marriage in order to prevent any tax penalties with your withholding or surprises when it comes time to file your 2011 tax return. The IRS recently put out some guidelines as well. Here are few tips that can help answer some of those recently married tax questions.
- If You Are Employed, Contact Your HR Department – When you get married, your filing status will change and ultimately your tax withholding may as well especially if your wife is also employed. Sometimes you may end up in a different tax bracket than you were before you were married. If you fail to notify your company, you could incur a tax underpayment penalty because your employer is not withholding the correct amount of money for taxes from your paycheck. Be sure to fill out a new W-4 form.
- Make Sure Your Company Knows Your Correct Address – If you decided to move because you are getting married or recently married you should let your employer know because remember at the end of the year they need to send you a W-2. The W-2 has critical information that a tax filing software will need or your tax accountant will need in order to file your taxes.
- Inform the Social Security Administration – If your last name is changing you need to report this to the social security administration ASAP so that when you file your 2011 tax return your new name matches your social security number. Use Form SS-5 at your local Social Security Administration Office.
- Let the Post Office and IRS Know Your New Address – If the IRS doesn’t have your updated address because you are moving or planning on moving since being recently married, then the IRS will not be able to contact you as they do not send you emails. If the IRS cannot reach you because of a tax problem, you could end up with bigger problems than you originally had. Use Form 8882 (found on IRS.gov) to inform the IRS of your new address.
- Submit the Right Tax Form for Your 2011 Tax Return – Sometimes after you get married you may actually have more deductible expenses than you had before you were married. What that means, is that you do not have to take the standard deduction and you might be able to itemize. If this is the case, you cannot use a 1040A or 1040EZ but you will need to fill out a Form 1040.
- Select the Filing Status That Yields the Lowest Tax – Just because you are married does not mean that you have to file a joint tax return. Instead, figure out your total tax (between you and your spouse) if you file separately or jointly.
For many newly married couples, a lot of change is or is going to take place. Taxes need to be considered and the guidelines above can help you prevent any major surprises, tax problems, and tax penalties.