Love, Marriage, and Your First Joint Tax Return

joint tax returnYou’ve said “I Do” to the love of your life and now, for better or for worse, you have to file your taxes…and yes, that calls for a joint tax return. From knowing when to file as “Married Filing Jointly” or “Married Filing Separately” to coordinating your benefits, filing taxes for the first time as a married couple can be tricky.

To help you navigate the process, here are the most important things to know about filing taxes as a married couple:

1.) Determine whether you will file as “Married Filing Jointly” or “Married Filing Separately.”

Choosing the appropriate filing status is a major tax decision for newlyweds. Know and understand the difference between the two and what the financial benefit may be for you.

2.) Refine Your Withholdings

As soon as you return from your honeymoon, check in with your employer and adjust the withholdings from your paychecks.

3.) Alert Social Security of a Name Change

If you change your name after you get married, you must let the Social Security Administration know by filing a form SS-2. If the name on your tax return does not match the name Social Security has for you, whatever refund you may have coming will be delayed until the issue is resolved.

4.) Coordinate Benefits

Getting married can open up some new opportunities to save. For example, you could be covered by your spouse’s medical plan and you may be able to trade your coverage for another benefit.

5.) Home Buying and Selling

Once you are married, the amount of home-sale profit that can be tax-free has the     potential to double.

It can be a lot to take in, but getting it right is important. Worrying about money and taxes can take a huge toll on a relationship. Have an honest conversation about finances with your new spouse. Years from now you will be glad you did.