Just Married? Four Tips For Filing Your Taxes As A Newly Married Couple

Posted on: 18 January 2017


There's a lot to think about when you're newly married -- and taxes aren't likely to be the first thing on your mind. But many couples actually get married specifically for the tax benefits, and there are some things you should know before you begin your filing.

Only File as Married If You Were Married That Year

You only need to file as a married couple if you were married during the prior year. If you marry in January of 2017, your taxes will still be filed as individuals for 2016 — even though you'll be married by the April 2017 tax deadline. 

Don't Forget to Change Your Payroll

Your payroll will also change when you get married — now that you have a spouse, the amount of money that is being withheld from your paycheck may change. This is especially true if your spouse is going to be a dependent financially. Though you don't have to change your payroll, it will make your end of year tax return far more accurate.

You May Need to Itemize Your Deductions

For the most part, single individuals are best served by taking the standard deduction. But married couples will almost always fare better itemizing. Itemizing your deductions means that you need to account for your expenses. Your expenses are then deducted based on the type of expense, such as medical expenses and educational expenses. But you do need to keep this in mind throughout the year, as you'll need receipts available as proof. There are also computer programs and apps designed to keep track of these expenses.

Don't Forget to Consider "Married, But Filing Separately"

There are some situations in which filing separately could still be a good idea. Notably, filing separately is ideal if you or your spouse have significant expenses compared to your income. If you've had very substantial medical debt, it's likely that you've met the threshold for writing off this medical debt. But if your spouse did not have any medical debt, you may not qualify to write off the debt if you file together. A tax professional will be able to run an estimate for your taxes both separately and together to determine which is most beneficial to you.

Remember you don't have to do your taxes alone. In fact, it's usually best to hire a professional; professionals don't cost much and they'll be able to help you in the event that you get audited. Getting your taxes done professionally for the first year of marriage can also be the best way to see how it needs to be done in the future. For more information, contact local professionals like Balkcom Pearsall & Parrish CPA's PA.