May through October is commonly known as “Wedding Season” with July and August generally being the peak months for weddings. If you, or perhaps one of your children, tied the knot this year, here are a few items to add to your checklist before the end of the year:
- If you or your spouse changed your name, then contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) to notify them of the name change. The name on the tax return should match the records of SSA. When changing your name, file Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. The new card will have your updated name, but your Social Security number will not change. Once you have your new card, you should update your employer and financial institutions that will be issuing you tax documents at year-end. Also update your driver’s license and passport with your new information.
- If both spouses will work – we generally advise not to change your W-4 to married but leave your W-4 claiming taxes withheld as single. Tax withholding tables do not correctly account for 2 wage earners in a family when claiming taxes to be withheld as married, and often as a result of claiming married on your W-4, newlyweds may be hit with an unexpected tax bill when filing their first joint tax return. Communicate your change in marital status with your tax preparer so they can work through a tax projection accounting for both spouses’ salaries and withheld taxes. For Newlyweds that currently do not work with a tax preparer, now is a great time to seek one out together.
- If you moved to a new location, you should notify the IRS of your new address by completing and submitting IRS Form 8822, Change of Address.
- If you sell one or two homes when you move into a new residence together, be sure to understand the tax rules pertaining to your specific situation and the allowed capital gain exclusion of $250K/$500K depending on which spouse lived in which house and when they may have resided there.
- When you are married, it is generally beneficial to file jointly. However, married taxpayers do have the option of filing separately, and they may file separately for various reasons, and not always for tax reasons. The first year you are married, it may be worth your time to prepare drafts of your tax returns as both married filing jointly and married filing separately to see if there is a tax benefit to filing separately.
- Will only one spouse be working? If so, don’t forget retirement planning for the non-working spouse. A spousal IRA contribution can be made for the non-working spouse.
- Newly married taxpayers should review their life insurance and 401k plan beneficiaries, as well as other HR benefits to modify as needed in order to update for their new spouse.
- No matter when you get married in the year, if you are married on December 31, you are considered married the entire year for tax filing purposes.