WITH WEDDING BELLS COME TAX DECISIONS

Wedding season is right around the corner. So, newlyweds and soon-to-be married couples need to think about their taxes - yes, really!

For those who are recently married and others planning their nuptials, taxes are probably not high on your list of priorities. But a little advance planning now may make your life a bit easier when next April rolls around.

Here are six tax tips for you as you begin your new lives together:

1. Notify the Social Security Administration - Report any name change to the Social Security Administration (SSA). To change your name, file a Form SS-5, "Application for a Social Security Card," at your local SSA office. The form is available on the Social Security website. When you file your next tax return, you will want your names and Social Security numbers to match. Tax returns and third-party documents like Forms W-2 and 1099 are matched to your tax return via your Social Security number.

2. Notify the IRS if you move - If you change your address, you should notify the IRS, particularly if you have not yet received your refund by mail. Use Form 8822, "Change of Address," which you can download here.

3. Notify the U.S. Postal Service - You should also notify the U.S. Postal Service when you move so it can forward any important correspondence.

4. Notify your employer and others - Report any name and address changes to your employer, bank, broker, etc., to make sure you receive your Form W-2, "Wage and Tax Statement," and other important tax documents after the end of the year.

5. Check your withholding - If both you and your spouse work, your combined income may place you in a higher tax bracket. If you work and your spouse doesn't, you may be in a lower tax bracket. You can use the IRS withholding calculator available at www.irs.gov to assist you in determining the correct amount of withholding needed for your new filing status. The IRS calculator will give you the information you need to complete a new Form W-4, "Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate." You can fill it out online and print it. Then give the form to your employer so the correct withholding will be taken from your pay. Click here for the calculator and a link to Form W-4.

6. Choose the best filing status - A person's marital status on Dec. 31 determines whether the person is considered married for that year. Generally, the tax law allows married couples to choose to file their federal income tax return either jointly or separately in any given year. Figuring the tax both ways can determine which filing status will result in the lowest tax. But filing jointly is usually more beneficial.

 
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