Congratulations on your recent wedding. Your life bond will bring a number of changes with it from big to small. One of these changes also includes the treatment of your respective taxes.
First, if there is a name change involved for one of the spouses, you need to notify all the respective agencies if you wish to change your original surname to a married name. The most critical for tax purposes is your social security number name. This is because your social security number is the tracking identifier the Internal Revenue Service and state tax agencies use to make sure you pay your taxes. If you file your next taxes under a new, married surname, it will trigger an audit when your new name doesn’t match your social security number provided.
You can notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) through a form process. The form is provided on the SSA website at www.socialsecurity.gov. The form can also be retrieved in paper format at a local SSA office in most major cities. Finally, you can have it mailed to you by calling the SSA at 1-800-772-1213. You specifically want Form SS-5, the Application for a Social Security Card. While the form generally gets used for a person establishing a new card, such as an immigrant or new citizen, it also doubles as the form request for a name change.
The next agency to notify is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), especially if due to marriage you are now changing your address. While this information will get updated when you file your taxes, it doesn’t hurt to get the new address into the IRS system ahead of time. Not every new change on tax filings gets picked up in a timely manner and mistakes can occur. Again, similar to the SSA, the IRS can be notified by form using IRS Form 8822. The form can be downloaded from the IRS website at www.irs.gov or by calling the agency at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Along with telling the IRS where you will now be living as a married couple, don’t forget to inform the U.S. Postal Service. Using a simple change of address form which can be obtained online at www.usps.gov or at any post office counter, this works as a second level safety net if IRS or government papers still get sent to the wrong address. The U.S. postal service will simply forward the mail to the correct address on file given the flag to your name and old address.
Next your IRS W-2 Form filed with your employer should be updated as well with the new address and name information. This way your W-2, when sent out in January, will have the correct information and your employer will have the correct address where to send your income earned tax statement as an employee.
And for the actual tax filing be prepared to see significant changes to your tax status. This is because now that you are married, your income and that of your spouse are joined. In doing so, you will see that your combined income jumps to an entirely different tax bracket. However, some adjustments are made for the fact that you are married. You will have to choose though on how to file: married filing jointly, or married filing separately. Depending how possible numbers work you, you may also need to make changes to your tax withholding status which would need to be done via an updated IRS W-4 Form to your employer. The IRS provides on their website a useful calculator to help estimate withholding impacts and choices.