Get Married in July? Remember This for January
by Susannah McQuitty
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Congratulations to you newlyweds! Now comes the fun bit: figuring out your matrimonial finances.
I know, I know, wildly exciting.
January may seem worlds away, but trust me on this one: Your life will be so much easier in January when it’s time to start thinking about taxes if you take steps now to simplify that process.
Update these three on your name change
Once you tell all your family and friends—and the 1000 Facebook acquaintances that didn’t make it to the wedding—that you’ve tied the knot, it’s time to let the IRS and your employer in on the news, and maybe the Social Security Administration too.
If you have a new married name now, you’ll need a new Social Security card for your new name, which you can apply for here. You’ll also need to alert the IRS, your employer and your state of your new address so that all your tax info goes to the right place. Get in touch with your employer and file the change of address form with the IRS to cover your bases.
Each state is different when it comes to changing your address: Some have a change of address form, while others simply update your address when they see it’s changed on your tax return. Check your state’s Department of Revenue site to see what to do. You may also want to check in with the USPS to have any mail forwarded from your old address.
Decide on separate or joint finances
Many couples are fine with combining bank accounts and financial dealings, but many others prefer to keep finances separate.
Which one’s better for your taxes, though?
The simple answer is to file a joint return. You qualify for more tax credits and a higher standard deduction (hello savings!), and you only have to file one tax return. In some rare cases, however, filing separately works out better. This happens more with spouses who have a pretty large difference in incomes.
Pinpoint your new tax liability
If you do plan to go the joint-finance route, it’s important to be prepared for your new tax situation as soon as possible. 1040.com has a free tax calculator that’s also available as a mobile app (iOS and Google Play).
Last but not least, it’s important to adjust your Form W-4 with your employer to make sure you have enough withheld from your paychecks throughout 2017. This can help you owe little to no taxes as a married couple when next tax season rolls around.
See more about adjusting your W-4 to best fit your tax situation here!
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