Getting Married This Year? Here Are 3 Things To Do Now to Make Your First ‘Married’ Tax Filing Easy
There’s a reason ‘most likely to be amazing at filing taxes’ isn’t an awards category in your high school yearbook: it’s boring.
But, the thing about being a tax wizard is that it cuts so much stress and worry out your life that you can actually enjoy April instead of dreading it. That could be you!
Part of the secret to owning tax season is preparation and planning. And, with your big life change, your filing status is going to change which means adjusting your existing game-plan.
So, in honor of Tax Day (and helping you enjoy April a little more than you might right now), here’s a game-plan for kicking butt on your first ‘married filing’ tax paperwork.
1. Don’t panic!
You can do this - you’ve got the basic info for tax filing down, now it’s time to level-up! Ask questions when you don’t understand something and keep your cool. And remember,
There are professionals who can help you out if you need it.
2. Decide if one (or both) of you will be changing your name(s)
If you’re changing your name, you’ll need to do some paperwork to make sure all of your essential documents have your new name on it.
The most important one to change (once you have your marriage license) is your Social Security card. The IRS website has a simple guide and the forms you’ll need.
Once you've updated your information with the Social Security Administration, you’ll be able to update things like your driver’s license, passport and bank accounts.
3. Figure out if you’re going file jointly or separately
When you’re married, you have two options for filing: jointly with your spouse or separately.
There are advantages and drawbacks based on each couple’s individual financial situation and this piece from Investopedia lays out what those are in a straight-forward way.
One fact that may make deciding this easier? According to Forbes 95% of married couples file joint tax returns. You may be in that 5% that would benefit from filing separately (and definitely scope it out) but most people don’t go that route.
For more information about when it makes sense to file your taxes separately, check out this piece from Bankrate.
You can also call your accountant or tax advisor (if you have one) and ask for their thoughts. If you don’t have one? Ask your friends if they have one they love.
There you go! You’re already on track to nail your first tax return as a married couple. Booyah!
What are your tips for making tax season easier? Are you in that 5% of folks filing separately? Whose advice do you listen to when it comes to tax stuff? We want to know!
If you have some tax wizardry up your sleeve or have good advice to share good advice you've received, email firstname.lastname@example.org.