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Recently Married? What to do after “I do!”08.11.14

The summer wedding season is in full swing. But, once you’ve packed away the wedding gown and opened your last gift, how should you file your first tax return as husband and wife? Believe it or not, it does make a difference and you need to see which option works best for you and your new spouse.

 

Married Filing Jointly (MFJ): You and your spouse may choose to file a joint return, which combines your incomes and allowable expenses. Filing jointly may offer tax savings, particularly when spouses have different income levels.

 

Married Filing Separately (MFS): This status may benefit you if you choose to be liable for only your own taxes, or if both you and your spouse have high incomes or certain itemized deductions. If you use this status and either of you itemizes deductions, the other must also itemize deductions. Most credits such as the Earned Income Credit (EIC) and the Child and Dependent Care Credit are not allowed when you file as MFS.

 

A few things to keep in mind:

• Your marital status on December 31 determines your filing status for the entire year

• After filing a joint return, you cannot amend your return to separate returns after the return’s due date

• If you file a joint return, both you and your spouse may be held responsible, jointly and individually, for the tax and any interest or penalty due on that return

• A joint return requires both your and your spouse’s signatures

• If you are married by midnight December 31, you can’t file as a Single taxpayer

 

Confused? Don’t be. The Tax Pros at Jackson Hewitt can help you sort things out, so you can get back to enjoying your newly married life!