The Bells Are Ringing For Me And My Gal (Or Guy Or Non-Binary Partner)
Last year at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was not a wedding bell to be heard, not a grain of rice thrown as every single one of those joyful ceremonies came to a screeching halt. This year, however, is a very different story. Those who couldn’t celebrate their love union last year are heading to the altar in record numbers.
In my mind, wedding season triggers a host of little tax tasks that many people forget about in the flurry of excitement. So, in case you forget before the big day, here’s a list of important items to put at the top of your “to-do list” and take care of as you settle into your new life and before filing your taxes for 2021.
If You Are Changing Your Surname Make Sure You Change It Where It Counts
One of the most important places to change your surname if that is the route you are taking is the Social Security Administration (SSA). You may wonder why that’s so important. Here’s why: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) matches what’s on your 1040 with the SSA data every filing season. If your new name on your return isn’t the same as on the SSA info, it could result in delays in any refund when you file your taxes.
Update Your Address If One Or Both Of You Is Moving
These days, many couples live together before they get married, but not all do. If one of you is moving or both of you are moving into a new home together, make sure both the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service get your change of address. Here’s the link to change your address with the IRS: https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-8822
If Both Spouses Are Employed And Getting Wages You Must Adjust Your Withholding
This is a very important pre-tax-filing task. Coordinating how much is withheld from each of your paychecks goes right to the tip-top of your list because if you fail to do this one thing, you could end up owing the IRS a lot of dough. Not only in taxes but also an underpayment penalty and interest. According to the IRS, it’s generally a good idea for spouse earning more to claim all the couple’s allowances, and the lower wage earner claiming zero. This is particularly helpful if your combined incomes push you into a higher tax bracket along with additional Medicare tax. Oh, and even if you get married on December 31, 2021, the IRS considers your married for the entire year. So, if your wedding date is later in the year, it’s really important not to forget this one.
Delve Into Tax-Favored Workplace Benefits
Things to consider – especially if your marriage results in a blended family with dependent children – are healthcare coverages and flexible spending accounts, if available. Marriage allows you to make these adjustments immediately without having to wait for the next open-enrollment period.
Whether you had to put your wedding on hold due to the pandemic or not, you may find yourself having to compete for event venues with those who did. Either way, congratulations are in order. I wish all those tying the knot the greatest happiness. And hopefully the tips I’ve provided will keep you out of trouble with the IRS and your new marital status will result in some wonderful new tax breaks!