Taxes are Part of Getting Married

Taxes are not romantic, even to me. However, taxes are part of getting married. A conversation about income taxes should be part of every engaged couples’ wedding plans. Marriage, like many other life events, impacts how a person’s income taxes are filed. 

Before marriage, taxes are usually filed under the “single” filing status. After those wedding bells chime and the “I Dos” are said, each spouse’s income tax filing status changes to “married.” Engaged couples who are newly married, or about to get married, should be aware of these four points before filing their next income tax return:

  • Taxpayers are required to file income tax returns based on their marital status on December 31st, the last day of the tax year. Couples who get married on New Year’s Eve are considered married for the entire year for tax purposes.
  • Married couples can select the “married filing jointly” (MFJ) or “married filing separately” (MFS) filing status, depending on which option means a lower tax bill. Couples can assess their tax situation annually to select the filing status that results in the lower overall tax liability.
  • Filing MFJ or MFS is a choice. However, it’s important to be aware that different tax rules apply for couples selecting the MFS option. Examples include rules related to itemized deductions, the standard deduction, the capital loss limit, and some refundable and non-refundable tax credits.
  • To plan for filing next year’s income tax return, couples can refer to information from their prior-year tax returns to help determine whether using the MFJ or MFS filing status might result in a lower overall tax liability. Hint – MFJ often results in a lower overall income tax bill.

Newly-married couples can reduce tax stress by learning about how the filing status rules apply to them before filing their next income tax return. Want to know more? Check out the IRS’ webpage with the details about income tax filing status and links to more information https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/correct-filing-status

Taxes aren’t romantic, but they are part of getting married. And the IRS has the perfect wedding gift, a helpful checklist for newly married couples – https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/a-tax-checklist-for-newly-married-couples. No thank you note required.