I recently received an informational e-mail from the IRS regarding tips for newly married couples. I thought it could be useful to some so I am going to summarize the two most important tax tips a newly married couple can use and then I will also share with you an important tax planning rule with the third tip.
1. Notify the social security administration of any name changes. This is especially important when it comes to filing your tax return in the spring. I had a client experience a delay last year in their tax return being processed because his wife did not update her last name with the SSA.
2. Make sure you check your tax withholding at your job so that you are not having too much or too little tax withheld. My rule of thumb is if you are +/- $500 of your expected tax liability then you are withholding a proper amount. The IRS has a helpful tool to use to calculate your anticipated tax liability at http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96196,00.html .
3. Remember, if you are legally married as of December 31st at 11:59pm, then you only have two filing options, i.e. married filing a joint return or married filing a separate return. Keep in mind that in most cases (but not all) it is advantageous to file a joint return, if at all possible.