The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers useful tips for newlyweds when it comes to filing tax returns. In many cases, filing a joint return may allow for more savings but taking time to review whether or not you should file separately, will help both parties determine the best option. There are several factors to keep in mind that will help minimize mistakes which could delay the processing of your return.
- Determine which filing status to file and discuss whether or not to change your filing status. Many are comfortable in continuing to file separately after marriage.
- Make sure names are correctly used on the return. If the wife had her name changed, it should correspond with her Social Security number. If the name change has not been reported the IRS may not be able to process the return. The Social Security Administration should be notified upon marriage of any name changes so that a new Social Security card can be issued.
- Make sure you have all paperwork needed to file your return. This includes W2 forms, business records, receipts and 1099 forms. Discuss documentation and review information to understand what is being reported on your return.
- Review personal finances for the tax year in question. Discuss any tax debt, financial hardships or anything they may have an effect on the outcome of your return.
- Decide you filing status. You can choose married filed jointly or married filed separately. Keep in mind, in many states, a couple is jointly responsible for any taxes owed. In some cases, in order to benefit from certain deductions, you may have to file separately.
- Review tax breaks available. As a married couple there are deductions and credits available that you can take advantage of. This may include mortgage interest, moving expenses and child tax credit. You may also deduct student loan interest.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from a qualified tax professional. Discussing your taxes with a tax expert can help both parties understand deductions available, which filing status is best and give clarification on any concerns.
- Your first filed return may give an idea of how future returns are filed. Even after tax returns are filed, discuss finances throughout the year. You may need to take note of a few changes now that you’re married and note certain deductions for next tax season.
Andrew writes frequently about personal finance as well as issues effecting both consumers and small businesses, covering everything from savings to mortgages to medical aid quotes.
- Top Ten Most Overlooked Tax Deductions (2009taxes.org)
- IRS Sets Tax Filing Extension Now To Five Months For Partnership, Estate And Trust Returns (2010taxes.org)