Sign In

Marriage Can Affect Federal Tax Status

Q: I just got married, and am wondering how that might affect my taxes.
A: A change in your marital status can affect your taxes. Often, you can benefit from this change by filing your taxes jointly rather than separately. The IRS provides the following tips to help you prepare for your new status as a married person:

  • It is 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 the Social Security Administration website at SSA.gov, by calling 800-772-1213 or by visiting your 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 if your address has changed. You can ask to have your mail forwarded online at USPS.com or report the change at your 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 beneficial to file jointly.
Q: Where can I get more information?
A: For more information about these topics, visit IRS.gov. You can also get IRS forms and publications at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

8/19/2013

This “Law You Can Use” column was prepared by the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA). The information was provided by the Internal Revenue Service (www.IRS.gov​). 
​​
Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney.

Contact OSBA


Headquarters:

1700 Lake Shore Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43204

Phone:

(800) 282-6556


Email:

OSBA@Ohiobar.org

Connect with OSBA


Attorney Member Directory Search