May and June are popular months for weddings. As soon as the honeymoon and festivities are done, the new couple must plan for life as married taxpayers. Here are some tips to ensure that when you file your 2011 return in 2012, you won’t be surprised.
Step 1: Marriage can mean a change in name. Ensure the names you will enter on your first tax return match the names and Social Security numbers on file with the Social Security Administration. Make the change with SSA as soon as possible if there is a spousal name change.
Step 2: Even if you get married on Dec. 31, 2011, you are considered to have been
married for the entire year. Check your withholding to be sure you are having enough taxes taken out of your paychecks. If you both 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 next year. Use Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, to make the needed adjustments and give the form to your employer.
Step 3: Make sure the IRS knows of your correct mailing address. Either you can notify the US Postal Service or you can complete and mail an IRS Form 8822, Change of Address form, to the address listed on page 2 of the form.
Step 4: Just in case you forgot to invite your employers to the wedding, let them know about any name and address changes as soon as possible. This will ensure that you receive your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, at the right time to file. Also, ensure other payers, such as banks and investment companies, have your updated name and address as well.
You may be wondering how being married will affect your taxes. When you file your return, you will be able to choose between filing jointly with your spouse (which may lower your combined tax) or using the filing status called married and filing separately.
When it comes to wedding planning, details are important. So take these steps now to ensure your first tax season as husband and wife goes as smoothly as your wedding.