Marriage and tax status
A: A change in your marital status can affect your taxes. Often, you can benefit from this change by filing your taxes jointly rather than separately. The IRS provides the following tips to help you prepare for your new status as a married person:
- It is
important that the names and Social Security numbers that you put on your
tax return match your Social Security Administration records. If you’ve
changed your name, report the change to the SSA. To do that, file Form
SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. You can get this form on the
Social Security Administration website at SSA.gov, by calling 800-772-1213
or by visiting your local SSA office.
- If your
address has changed, file Form 8822, Change of Address, to notify the IRS.
You should also notify the U.S. Postal Service if your address has
changed. You can ask to have your mail forwarded online at USPS.com or
report the change at your local post office.
- If you work,
report your name or address change to your employer. This will help to
ensure that you receive your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, after the
end of the year.
- If you and
your spouse both work, you should check the amount of federal income tax
withheld from your pay. Your combined incomes may move you into a higher
tax bracket. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator tool at IRS.gov to help
you complete a new Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate.
See Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, for more
- If you didn’t
qualify to itemize deductions before you were married, that may have
changed. You and your spouse may save money by itemizing rather than
taking the standard deduction on your tax return. You’ll need to use Form
1040 with Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. You can’t use Form 1040A or
1040EZ when you itemize.
- If you are married as of Dec. 31, that’s your marital status for the entire year for tax purposes. You and your spouse usually may choose to file your federal income tax return either jointly or separately in any given year. You may want to figure the tax both ways to determine which filing status results in the lowest tax. In most cases, it’s beneficial to file jointly.
A: For more information about these topics, visit IRS.gov. You can also get IRS forms and publications at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).