June wedding? Tax tips for newlyweds

While June may be the traditional month for weddings, the IRS offers a number of tax tips for newlyweds at any time of the year.

Among those tax-related changes that newlyweds should think about now are notifications of change of name and address, as well as updating your withholdings. As tax filing season approaches, you should consider itemizing your deductions, selecting the right tax return form to use and choosing your filing status.

Using the correct name – You must provide correct names and identification numbers on your tax returns. If a bride takes her husband's last name, but doesn't tell the Social Security Administration about the name change, a complication may result. If the couple files a joint tax return with her new name, the IRS computers will not be able to match the new name with the Social Security Number. If you change your last name after marrying, advise the Social Security Administration by completing Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, available atwww.ssa.gov.

Reporting your change of address – If one or both of you are changing your address, notify the IRS, as well as the U.S. Postal Service, to be sure you receive tax refunds or IRS correspondence. To notify the IRS, send in Form 8822, Change of Address Form, available at www.irs.gov. Also let your employers know about any name or address changes so you receive your W-2s timely.

Getting your refund check – Notifying both the Post Office and the IRS of an address change in a timely manner can help ensure the delivery of any refund checks. To check the status of a tax refund, use the "Where's My Refund" service available on the IRS website at www.irs.gov.

Selecting the right form – Newlyweds may find that they now have enough deductions to itemize, instead of claiming the standard deduction. Form 1040, which is used to report all types of income, deductions and credits, is the one to use if itemizing. Forms 1040EZ and 1040A do not allow itemization.

Choosing the best filing status – Your marital status on Dec. 31 determines whether you are considered married for the entire year. Married couples may choose to file jointly or separately in any given year. Choosing the right filing status can save money. A joint return allows spouses to combine their incomes and deductions on one tax return. Both spouses must sign the return and both are responsible for the contents. With separate returns, each spouse signs, files and is responsible for his or her own tax return. Figuring the tax both ways can determine which filing status will result in the lowest tax – usually, it's filing jointly.

Checking your withholdings – Your new filing status may affect your combined tax liability. You should determine whether the withholding by your employers will approximate the taxes you will owe for the year. Wage earners can adjust the amount withheld by giving the employer a new Form W-4. Employers use the information on the W-4 to calculate the taxes withheld from your pay. More information is available in IRS Publication 919, How Do I Adjust My Tax Withholding? available at www.irs.gov. Also available on the IRS website is the "IRS Withholding Calculator" on the "Individuals" page. With the help of current pay stubs and a copy of last year's tax returns, you can check if the right amount is being withheld and adjust your W-4 accordingly.

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