Newlywed advice from the IRS

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:53

    It may not be high on the list of wedding planning activities, but there are a few, simple steps that can help keep tax issues from interrupting the newlywed bliss, according to the Internal Revenue Service. "With the fall wedding season approaching, the IRS advises the soon-to-be married and the just-married to review their changing tax status," said Gregg Semanick, IRS spokesperson. "Choosing the right tax form and filing status can help save money n and even prevent problems with missing a refund check." Among those tax-related changes that newlyweds should think about now are notification of change of name and change of address. Later, as filing season approaches, they should consider itemizing their deductions, selecting the right tax return form to use and choosing their filing status. No one should delay the cake cutting or honeymoon because of taxes, but here are some helpful hints for later: Use the correct name Taxpayers must provide correct names and identification numbers to claim personal exemptions or the Earned Income Tax Credit on their tax returns. A taxpayer who changes his or her last name upon marrying should let the Social Security Administration know and should update his or her Social Security card so the number matches the new name. Report your change of address If one or both spouses are changing their address, they should notify the IRS, as well as the U.S. Postal Service, to be sure they receive any tax refunds or IRS correspondence. The couple should include their full name, old and new addresses, social security number and signature, and remember to let their employers know about any name or address changes so they can continue to receive their paychecks and W-2s. Get that refund check Each year, thousands of tax refund checks are returned by the post office to the IRS as undeliverable, usually because the recipient has moved. Notifying both of an address change in a timely manner can help ensure the proper delivery of any refund checks. Select the right form Choosing the right individual income tax form can help save money. Newly married taxpayers may find that they now have enough deductions to itemize on their tax returns. Deductions for money paid for medical care, mortgage interest, real estate taxes, state and local income taxes or general sales taxes, charitable contributions, casualty losses and certain miscellaneous costs can reduce federal taxes. Form 1040, which is used to report all types of income, deductions and credits, is the one to use if itemizing. Choose the best filing status A person's marital status on December 31 determines whether the person is considered married for that year. The tax law allows married couples to choose to file their federal income tax return either jointly or separately in any given year. Choosing the right filing status can help save money. A joint return, "Married Filing Jointly," allows spouses to combine their income and to deduct combined deductions and expenses on a single tax return. Both spouses must sign the return and both are held responsible for the contents. With separate returns, "Married Filing Separately," each spouse signs, files and is responsible for his or her own tax return. Each is taxed on his or her own income, and can take only his or her individual deductions and credits. If one spouse itemizes deductions, the other must also. Check your withholding Individuals should also check their withholding due to a change in their filing status. The change in filing status may alter the amount of taxes due at year's end. Wage earners can adjust the amount withheld by giving the employer a new Form W-4. This form asks for marital status, withholding allowances and any additional amount that needs to be withheld. Employers use the information on the W-4 to figure the taxes to be withheld from employee compensation according to calculation methods provided by the IRS.