Summer is a popular time to tie the knot. Planning for the event takes hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars. Often overlooked in the craziness of the event are important tax and financial topics. If you are planning to get married in the near future or know of someone who is, here are some things to consider.
Notify Social Security. Notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) with any name changes. The IRS has a name match program with the SSA and will potentially reject deductions and joint filing status if the name change is not made timely. You do this by filing Form SS-5.
Selling a home? If selling one or two residences, review the impact of capital gain tax laws and how they apply to your situation. This is important if one of you has only been in a home for a short time or if the home has appreciated in value.
Update your address. Update your address with the IRS if either of you is moving. You do this with IRS form 8822. Also change your address at the postal service.
Notify your employers. Also change your name and addresses with your employer to ensure your W-2s are correctly stated. Recalculate your payroll withholdings and file a new Form W-4.
Beware the marriage penalty. If both newlyweds work, your combined income could put you into a higher tax bracket. This phenomenon is referred to as “the marriage penalty”. On the other hand, marriage could also reduce your tax burden. Because of this, now is a good time to conduct a tax forecast.
Review legal documents. Ensure legal titles are as you wish them after you are married. This includes bank accounts, titles on property, credit cards, insurance, and wills.
Beneficiary statement update. Also check any retirement savings plans like 401(k)s and IRAs. The beneficiaries on these accounts must also be updated.
Review employee benefits. Review your employee benefits and make the necessary changes in health care, insurance, employee retirement accounts, pensions, and tax-preferred spending accounts. Marriage is a qualified event for most employers to allow you to make mid-year changes.
Talk about it. If you have not already done so, spend some time talking about how you will be managing your financial affairs. Who will be paying the bills? Who will be managing retirement accounts and investments? How will spending be managed? What bills and debt exist? Developing a plan and understanding how this will be handled can help reduce misunderstandings and future disagreements.