They say surprises are a great way to keep that flame going, but when it comes to finances, surprises are something you want to avoid with your partner, so keep that line of communication open. Have some debts burning holes in your pocket? Make sure your partner knows about them. “You can still file a joint return to get the best tax outcome, but you’ll need to file a special form to make sure the spouse without the debt doesn’t lose his/her share of the refund. It’s called an injured spouse form,” advises Nathan Rigney, Lead Tax Research Analyst at the Tax Institute at H&R Block.
Filing Your Taxes as a Newlywed
Did you tie the knot last year? Congratulations! Together as a married couple, you had the wedding, the gifts, the cake, the honeymoon…and now you have just less than one week left to file your taxes if you haven’t done so yet! Did you know that once you’re married, the way you normally do your taxes changes a little? Fret not – we’re here to break it all down for you because let’s face it, you don’t need any additional headaches when doing your taxes!
1. Communication is key
Brush up on your knowledge regarding new filing thresholds, new tax brackets, and new tax benefit thresholds now that you’re filing as a married couple and not just as an individual. Tax benefits that change based on your filing status include: the child tax credit, education credits, the student loan interest deduction, and the earned income tax credit.
3. Mind the Name Change
Did you change your name after getting married? Taking your partner’s name is such common post-wedding action that we might easily overlook how it may affect the IRS processing your tax return. If you changed your name, make sure you notify the Social Security Administration of the name change to avoid inconvenient surprises.
4. Update Your Withholdings
And speaking of surprises… “As soon as you get married, make sure you update your withholdings to ensure you avoid a big surprise when you file your tax return,” Rigney says. You can update your status on your W4 through your employer, but there’s more to it than checking a box. “It gets tricky when both spouses work,” Rigney adds. “There’s a worksheet within the W4 that ensures you’re withholding enough taking into account your spouse’s income as well.”
Filing taxes is never exactly a fun bonding experience, but it is still a bonding experience regardless because you’re tackling it together. Did you utter”for richer or poorer” in your vows? Well, it’s time to get (hopefully) get richer with your tax returns! Already checked that off your to-do list? Good job, you. Now you have some well-earned downtime to relive your wedding day by re-watching your wedding film, as well as others from our archives.