Note from APA OKC: Be the payroll pro in your office. These helps hints can make you be the best person invited to the wedding!
Congratulations! You’ve tied the knot and cut the cake. Here are some simple steps to make your first joint income tax return less stressful.
Step 1: Marriage can mean a change in name. Make sure that the names you enter on your first tax return match the names and Social Security numbers on file with the Social Security Administration. For example, if one spouse takes the other spouse’s surname, they should file Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, to notify SSA of the name change.
Step 2: No matter when you get married this year, even on December 31, you’re considered to have been married for the entire year for tax purposes. To make sure you’re having enough taxes taken out of your paychecks, check your withholding. If both you and your spouse work, your combined income may place you in a higher tax bracket.
The IRS Withholding Calculator will help you figure the correct amount of withholding for a married couple. Making a change to your withholding now can eliminate or reduce a tax bill when it’s time to file your tax return. Use Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, to make the needed adjustments and give the form to your employer.
Step 3: Let the IRS know your new address by completing Form 8822, Change of Address. Mail the completed change of address form to the address listed on Page 2.
Step 4: You’ll want to make sure the post office has your correct address. So, don’t forget to notify the U. S. Postal Service when you move so it can forward any IRS correspondence or refunds.
Step 5: Just in case you forgot to invite your employer to the wedding, make sure you let them know about any name and address changes. This will ensure that you receive your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, after the end of the year. Make sure banks or other payers that may send you year-end tax statements have your updated name and address as well.
Step 6: If you receive advance payment of the premium tax credit, it’s important that you report changes in circumstances, such as changes in your income or family size, to your Health Insurance Marketplace. You should also notify the Marketplace when you move out of the area covered by your current Marketplace plan. Advance payments of the premium tax credit provide financial assistance to help you pay for the insurance you buy through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Reporting changes will help you get the proper type and amount of financial assistance so you can avoid getting too much or too little in advance.
Step 7: Select the right tax form. Choosing the right individual income tax form can help save money. Newly married taxpayers may find that they now have enough deductions to itemize on their tax returns. Itemized deductions must be claimed on a Form 1040, not a 1040A or 1040EZ.
Step 8: Choose the best filing status. A person’s marital status on December 31 determines whether the person is considered married for that year. Generally, the tax law allows married couples to choose to file their federal income tax return either jointly or separately in any given year. Figuring the tax both ways can determine which filing status will result in the lowest tax, but usually filing jointly is more beneficial.
When it comes to wedding planning, details are important. Take these steps now to be sure your first tax season as a married couple goes smoothly as well!