By Capt. John R. McGuire IIIMarch 11, 2014
FORT BENNING, Ga, (March 12, 2014) -- Everyone knows with marriage comes certain benefits and headaches. One such benefit remains the Married Filing Joint tax filing status. However, like other frustrations for new spouses, such as changing addresses, names, legal documents, etc., there are some items to take care of prior to and during tax filing that may be new to you. Here are some tax tips for newlyweds that should make the process a little easier.
•It's important that the names and Social Security numbers that you put on your tax return match your Social Security Administration records. If you've changed your name, report the change to the SSA. To do that, file Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. You can get this form on their website at SSA.gov, by calling 800-772 1213 or by visiting the local SSA office.
•If your address has changed, file Form 8822, Change of Address, to notify the IRS. You should also notify the U.S. Postal Service. You can ask to have your mail forwarded online at USPS.com or report the change at the local post office.
•If you work, report your name or address change to your employer. This will help to ensure that you receive your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, after the end of the year.
•If you and your spouse both work, you should check the amount of federal income tax withheld from your pay. Your combined incomes may move you into a higher tax bracket. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator tool at IRS.gov to help you complete a new Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate. See Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, for more information.
•If you didn't qualify to itemize deductions before you were married, that may have changed. You and your spouse may save money by itemizing rather than taking the standard deduction on your tax return. You'll need to use Form 1040 with Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. You can't use Form 1040A or 1040EZ when you itemize.
•If you are married as of Dec. 31, that's your marital status for the entire year for tax purposes. You and your spouse usually may choose to file your federal income tax return either jointly or separately in any given year. You may want to figure the tax both ways to determine which filing status results in the lowest tax. In most cases, it's more beneficial to file jointly. Married Filing Separately should only be used as a last resort in most cases, since certain credits and deductions may not be authorized and you will find yourself in a higher tax bracket generally.
The Fort Benning Tax Center will file federal and state returns for the 2014 season until the April 15 deadline. All returns are prepared and e-filed at no charge by individuals certified by the IRS. The Tax Center will be open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday noon to 7 p.m., and every other Saturday beginning Feb. 8 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.