With all the planning and preparation that goes into a wedding, taxes may not be high on your summer wedding checklist but along with the cake and gift registry, the first tax return as a married couple should be included on your checklist.
Here are some simple steps that can make filing your first tax return as newlyweds less stressful:
- Name change. The names and Social Security numbers on your tax return must match your Social Security Administration records. If you change your name, report it to the SSA. To do that, file Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. You can get the form on SSA.gov, by calling 800-772-1213 or from your local SSA office.
- Change tax withholding. A change in your marital status means you must give your employer a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. If you and your spouse both work, your combined incomes may move you into a higher tax bracket or you may be affected by the Additional Medicare Tax. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator tool at IRS.gov to help you complete a new Form W-4.
- Changes in circumstances. If you or your spouse purchased a Health Insurance Marketplace plan and receive advance payments of the premium tax credit in 2021, it is important that you report changes in circumstances, such as changes in your income or family size, to your Health Insurance Marketplace when they happen. You should also notify the Marketplace when you move out of the area covered by your current Marketplace plan. Advance credit payments are paid directly to your insurance company on your behalf to lower the out-of-pocket cost you pay for your health insurance premiums. Reporting changes now will help you get the proper type and amount of financial assistance so you can avoid getting too much or too little in advance, which may affect your refund or balance due when you file your tax return.
- Address change. Let the IRS know if your address changes. To do that, send the IRS Form 8822, Change of Address. You should also notify the U.S. Postal Service. You can ask them online at USPS.com to forward your mail. You may also report the change at your local post office. You should also notify your Health Insurance Marketplace when you move out of the area covered by your current health care plan.
- Tax filing status. If you’re married as of December 31, that’s your marital status for the whole year for tax purposes. You and your spouse can choose to file your federal income tax return either jointly or separately each year. While filing jointly is usually more beneficial, it’s best to figure the tax both ways to find out which status results in the lowest tax.
- Update estate plan documents. Now that your circumstances are changing, it is prudent to have your Will, Powers Of Attorney and Living Will updated. You should also consider if you do not have one already, setting up a Revocable Trust. Likewise, if you already have a Trust, that should be updated too.
Can you get a Tax Write-Off for your wedding?
Generally you cannot write-off a wedding but there are ways that newlyweds can spend for their weeding that can actually save money when it’s time to pay taxes at the end of the year.
While tax write-offs are usually the last thing a bride and groom think about when planning a wedding, when it comes to saving taxes you may want to consider these tips:
The Attire. Brides often wear their wedding dress only once. And while some opt to keep them for whatever reason, others have no idea how to discard them. For a tax write-off, consider donating the wedding gown to a nonprofit organization like Goodwill, MakingMemories.org or CinderellaProject.net. These organizations will take your dress and issue you a donation receipt for your good efforts. While you’re at it, consider donating the bridesmaids dresses, flower girl dress, ring bearer’s outfit and any nonperishable decorations.
The Venue. Believe it or not, some wedding venues are tax deductible. Choose a ceremony or reception venue located at a museum, public-owned park or even a historic house or building of some sort. These places are usually owned by nonprofit organizations who use the money they receive for upkeep purposes only. Speak with the head of the venue sight to make sure that it is a nonprofit organization and what portion of the cost you pay is in excess of the deemed value of the rental of the space (only the excess amount could be deductible as a charitable contribution).
Wedding Favors and Gifts. Charity donations can make thoughtful wedding gifts and favors. They also save you money during tax season. So instead of purchasing a trinket that your guests or attendants may discard later, opt for a donation to your favorite charity on behalf of all those who are a part of your wedding.
Wedding Flowers and Foods. You can also get a tax write-off for items that have a short life, such as leftover food and all those floral centerpieces. After the wedding is over, ask a friend or family member to bring the items to a local nursing home, homeless shelter or somewhere similar. You will get a tax deduction for the cost of the remaining food and flowers and you’ll put a few smiles on faces.
Documenting. Whether you have your taxes done by a professional accountant or take care of them yourself, it’s important to document each of these wedding tax write-offs. Keep all your receipts for any purchases you make and request a donation sheet (signed by the organization) that states how much you donated, what you donated and when. Save all your contracts for any wedding venues and, if possible, request that the venue organizer provide you with receipts for each of your payments.
Reporting Charitable Contributions. To claim charitable deductions, you must itemize them on Schedule A of Form 1040. The IRS will need any and all receipts and statements that support the fees, expenses and donations that you claim. If your total noncash contributions exceed $500, you must also fill out Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, and attach it to your tax return. If you donate a single item worth more than $5,000, you must add Form 8283, Section B, and obtain an appraisal.
It’s risky business to take a tax write-off for your wedding but if it is done right it should be respected by the IRS.
Make Sure Your Future Spouse Has No Tax Problems.
You surely would not want to be exposed to the past tax problems of your future spouse … so ask him or her the following:
- Do you have any outstanding liabilities with any Federal or State tax agency which are not subject to payment plan?
- Do you have any unfiled tax returns?
- Are there any tax liens which have not been released for any past tax liabilities that have been paid in full?
- If you are self-employed or you have financial control or authority over a business, is that business delinquent with its payroll tax deposits?
If he or she answers “yes” to any of these questions, being married to that person could have adverse tax-related consequences to you.
Don’t Take The Chance And Lose Everything You Have Worked For.
Protect yourself. If you are selected for an audit or your future spouse has past tax issues, stand up to the IRS by getting representation. Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), Los Angeles and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income. And if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you. And if you are involved in crypto currency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.