Guide to Filing Taxes as Newlyweds

Guide to Filing Taxes as Newlyweds

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Well, the honeymoon is over and now you have to deal with your first tax season as a married couple. However, there is a silver lining to this end to your marital euphoria because there are several benefits to filing as a married couple. There will be many firsts in the premiere year of your marriage but your first tax return is definitely one of the most serious.

Before you begin this new challenge you will need to determine the state of your separate tax records. If both you and your spouse had the perfect organization of all the necessary forms and paperwork then consider yourself lucky. If not, work together to gather all of your respective receipts and tax forms.

Change your status

Now that you’ve been married, its time you have your second IRS paperwork wedding. Which means the next step is to change your filing status from single to married.  If you are unsure about your qualifications based on the proximity of your wedding date to the next tax deadline, or any other reason, you can take a short quiz to determine your eligibility. Generally your marital status on the last day of the year is all it takes to determine your status for the whole year.

When you’ve determined that you are definitely eligible for a new filing status you can check a new box on your return. But now you need to determine which married status you want to choose: married filing jointly or married filing separately. There is no difference between the filing jointly and filing separately statuses in terms of qualifications but there are several differences otherwise.

Separately

Some couples choose to keep their finances separate even after they are married. If this is what you and your spouse are looking for, then the married filing separately status is right for you. Before you decide to do it this way you should be aware of the several write-offs and deductions for which you are missing out, including Earned Income Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit and tuition deductions. However, with all of these drawbacks to filing separately, there is one obvious benefit. You separate your tax liabilities. This means if your spouse makes a mistake or cheats on their taxes, you are not liable.

Jointly

The Married Filing Jointly status comes with a whole host of benefits and is one of the best filing statuses. A variety of deductions and write-offs become available to you when you file with your partner including:

  • Tuition and fees deduction
  • Student loan interest deduction
  • Tax-free exclusion of Social Security Benefits
  • Credit for the Elderly and Disabled
  • Child and Dependent Care Credit
  • Earned Income Credit
  • An unemployed spouse can have an IRA

Of course, this means you share liability with your spouse, so if one of you has a tax issue you both do. If one of you has outstanding tax debt the IRS doesn’t make distinctions between the two of you. If you aren’t sure how to handle your tax debt, you might want to consult a tax professional. Levy & Associates is a firm of professional tax specialists who can help with tax debt issues including levies and liens. The best thing to do if you do have tax debt is to eliminate it as soon as possible.

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