Hertsel Shadian, Attorney at Law, LLC

Tax Tips for Recent Newlyweds

17 August 2012

Late spring and summer always are popular times for a wedding. If you recently were married, there are several changes that also might be necessary with regard to your tax filing status. Remember that even if the planning for your wedding is over, you still cannot forget about planning for the tax-related changes that marriage brings. Following are some tips for recently married taxpayers related to updating your name, address and tax filing status following a marriage, as well as other tips to remember. (Note that some of these tips also are equally applicable for people that are recently divorced.)

  • Notify the Social Security Administration. It is important that your name and Social Security number match on your next tax return, so if you have taken on a new name, report the change to the Social Security Administration. File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card (for applicants in the U.S.), Form SS-5-SP, Application for a Social Security Card (for Spanish speaking applicants who have difficulty translating the SS-5), or Form SS-5-FS, Application for a Social Security Card (for applicants applying outside the United States). The forms also can be obtained on the SSA’s official website at www.SSA.gov, by calling 800-772-1213, or by visiting a local SSA office. For additional tips and useful links related to making a name change following a marriage or divorce, see the article, Five Tax Filing Tips for Recently Married or Divorced Taxpayers.”
  • Notify the IRS if you move. IRS Form 8822, Change of Address (link also below), is the official way to update the IRS of your address change. Download Form 8822 using the link below or directly from the official IRS website at www.IRS.gov, or order it by telephone by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
  • Notify the U.S. Postal Service.  To ensure your mail—including mail from the IRS—all is forwarded to your new address, you will need to notify the U.S. Postal Service. Submit a forwarding request online at www.USPS.com, or visit your local post office.
  • Notify your employers of any address changes.  Report any name and address changes to your employer or employers to make sure you receive your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, after the end of the year.
  • Check your withholding.  If both spouses work, keep in mind that you and your spouse’s combined income may move you into a higher tax bracket. You can use IRS Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax (link also below), to help determine the correct amount of withholding for your marital status, and it also will help you complete a new IRS Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. Fill out and print Form W-4 online and give it to your employers so that the correct amount will be withheld from your pay.
  • Select the right tax form.  Choose your individual income tax form wisely because it can help save you taxes. Newlywed taxpayers may find that they now have enough deductions to itemize on their tax returns rather than taking the standard deduction. Itemized deductions must be claimed on a Form 1040, not on a Form 1040A or Form 1040EZ.
  • Choose the best filing status. A person’s marital status on Dec. 31 determines whether the person is considered married for that year for tax purposes. Tax law generally allows married couples to choose to file their federal income tax return either jointly or separately in any given year. Calculating the tax both ways can determine which filing status will result in the lowest tax, but filing jointly is usually more beneficial.

For more information about these topics, contact your professional tax advisor or tax preparer, or call Hertsel Shadian, Attorney at Law, LLC at (503) 352-6985. More information about changing your name, address and income tax withholding is available on the official IRS website at www.IRS.gov, and by using the links below. IRS forms and publications also can be obtained from www.IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). Please also feel free to share this article with others you know that might benefit from this information.

IRS Links:

  • Form 8822, Change of Address (PDF)
  • Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate (PDF)
  • Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax (PDF)

IRS YouTube Videos:

IRS Podcasts: