If you’re getting married this year, we know you’re probably focused on things like the dress, the venue, the food, etc. As your accounting firm, we want to remind you of some things you should know considering your finances. Here are 7 important things newlyweds should know.
- If you change your name, be sure to report the name change to the Social Security Administration (SSA) using Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. You can obtain the form on-line at SSA.gov, by calling 800-772-1213 or directly from a local SSA office. Updating your name with the SSA is important because names and Social Security numbers on your tax return must match SSA records.
- Be aware that if you get married during 2016 you will be considered to be married for the entire year for tax purposes. You and your spouse may choose to file as married, filing a joint return, or married, filing a separate return, each year. Please contact us to determine what would be the most advantageous filing status for you and your spouse for 2016.
- A change in marital status may, of course, result in a change in your tax bracket. So, if you work, be sure to complete a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, so that your federal and state tax withholdings are adjusted as soon as possible. We can help determine correct 2016 tax withholdings that will allow you to avoid surprises at the tax filing deadline.
- In some instances, there may be a "marriage penalty" where two higher-income people who get married wind up owing more in taxes on a combined basis than if each had remained single. The only way to avoid this would be by postponing the wedding until the next year, and paying the penalty then. On the other hand, couples with very dissimilar incomes generally end up owing less by getting married, in essence getting a “marriage bonus.” See more on this topic in our article, "Getting married? Learn the tax implications" here.
- If you purchased health insurance from the Health Insurance Marketplace and are receiving 2016 advance payments of the health insurance premium tax credit, it is important to report changes in address, financial status, and family size to the Health Insurance Marketplace. This will assure that you will receive the proper amount and type of premium credit for 2016. These changes may also open the Marketplace special enrollment period that permits health care plan changes. In most cases, this period is open for 60 days from the date of the life event.
- You should also inform the IRS if your address changes. You can do that by filing Form 8822, Change of Address, with the IRS. (Form 8822 and mailing instructions may be downloaded at IRS.gov.) You should, of course, also inform the U.S. Postal Service and arrange for mail forwarding either by visiting your local post-office or on-line at USPS.com.
- Be aware that changes to retirement plan and life insurance beneficiaries may be needed as well when you marry. Generally, retirement plans and life insurance companies can only pay benefits to a participant’s/owner's named beneficiaries upon his or her death. To change beneficiaries, you should contact your employer or plan administrator and your life insurance company to request change of beneficiary forms and complete them as indicated.
These are just a few things to think about when you come back from your honeymoon. If you have questions about how your new marriage will affect other financial matters, please contact us at (719) 630-1186 or through our Secure Email here. We're glad to help!