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Tax Tips for Newlyweds

Did two sets of finances join in loving matrimony this year? If so, there will be some things to consider when filing your taxes. Get tax reminders for newlyweds in this Consumer Watch.
Did two sets of finances join in loving matrimony this year? If so, there will be some things to consider when filing your taxes.  Get tax reminders for newlyweds in this Consumer Watch.

Among all of the exciting things about being a newlywed, one of the least romantic is filing taxes.

Whether the wedding was in January, June, or on December 31st, your status is "married" in the eyes of the IRS, for the entire year.

"Marriage is defined by your filing status at the end of the year. You have the option of married filing jointly, or married filing separately," explains Isaac McRae.  "Which is much different from filing as a single individual, or head of household individual."

A tax practitioner, McRae recommends doing research to choose that filing status wisely, especially if there's a gap in income between spouses.

"In some cases you may have a high-income spouse, and a low-income spouse. It would be more beneficial for you to file jointly because you'll be able to absorb the higher income spouse's income at a lower tax rate."

If a spouse comes into a marriage with past tax debt or a default on federal student loans, couples may consider filing separately.

"When you file jointly, whatever is on that tax return becomes your problem, yes. However, any past tax issues are not your problem when you file jointly. Anything that you did prior to you becoming married or filing, are their own separate issues."

However, those past issues could cut into a joint refund if you are entitled to one.

If it all seems confusing, consult a tax professional for the best option for you and your spouse.


(Karin Caifa for CNN's Consumer Watch)

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