Just married? Get some tax tips before filing
If married within the last year, couples can't assume that filing together will offer tax benefits, said Carol Young, Kansas State University Research and Extension financial management specialist.
She recommends that newlyweds gather their financial information and speak with a professional income tax preparer before changing their filing status.
"Working with a professional income tax preparer often can yield tax benefits that exceed the service fee," Young says. "Professional tax preparers know tax laws and benefits that taxpayers who try to do their own taxes may miss."
Use your new name
When it comes to filing your taxes as a newlywed couple, the IRS offers the following advice:
Newlyweds and the recently divorced should ensure the name on their tax return matches the name registered with the Social Security Administration (SSA). A mismatch could unexpectedly delay a tax refund.
- For recently married taxpayers, the tax scenario begins when the bride says "I do." If she takes her husband's last name, but doesn't tell the SSA about the name change, a complication may result. If the couple files a joint tax return with her new name, the IRS computers will not be able to match the new name with the Social Security Number (SSN).
- After a divorce, a woman who had taken her husband's name and made that change known to the SSA should contact the SSA if she reassumes a previous name.
It's easy to inform the Social Security Administration of a name change by filing Form SS-5 at a local SSA office. It usually takes two weeks to have the change verified. The form is available on the agency's Web site, www.socialsecurity.gov, by calling 800-772-1213 and at local offices. The SSA Web site provides the addresses of local offices.