Presented by H&R Block
If you said “I do” in 2017, filing your taxes will take on a whole new role this year. And just because you’re likely to receive a higher return doesn’t mean you also have to stress more.
In fact, H&R Block aims to make tax season a breeze for folks who have just tied the knot. Listed below are a few tax tips from professionals that’ll make filing your first return as a married couple a piece of cake. After all, receiving your refund should be an exciting and joyous time, not a stressful one.
Your filing status is determined on December 31 of each year. So even if you were single up until New Year’s Eve, once you’ve exchanged vows and are legally married, you have two options for your tax return. You can choose to file together or separately.
Generally, filing jointly provides the most beneficial tax outcome because some deductions and credits are reduced or not available to married couples filing separate returns. If you want to guarantee a hassle-free, maximum return, file with H&R Block and let a tax professional guide you through each new step.
As tax tips go, this is a big one. You file taxes under your social security number (SSN), which is why it’s so important to ensure the Social Security Administration (SSA) is aware of your name change. Otherwise you could be in for unnecessary headaches if the IRS is still expecting tax documents under your maiden name. It’s definitely better to be safe rather than sorry, so you should wait to file your return until after the name change process has been completed. This way, you can avoid any complications that could arise if the name on the return does not match the SSN on file with the SSA.
Because of additional exemptions and the higher standard deduction you are allowed to claim on a joint tax return, it’s a smart idea to change your W-4 form to match the new information. By doing so, your form will reflect your additional claim and less taxes will be withheld from your pay.
Tax brackets were put in place to help organize tax rates as they’re adjusted to income. Tax brackets vary by filing status, so your income may be taxed at a different rate than when you were single. And if you file a joint return, your income is combined which can move you into a higher tax bracket.
Owning a new house (or selling one previously owned) affects your taxes. When you own a home, any interest you pay on your mortgage can be listed as an itemized deduction on your return. But if you are selling a home, you’re eligible for a tax exclusion on your monetary gain.
You have to be cautious, though! In order to apply the exclusion, both of you must’ve owned the home or lived in it (as your primary residence) for a minimum of two years. If you file with H&R Block, you won’t have to worry about missing a beat, since a tax professional will assist you through the entire process.
Messing up a deduction can turn into a costly mistake. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your calculations are done right and that you’re properly adhering to tax laws before you file. Luckily, H&R Block makes that easy with its filing products and tax tips. Name something better than getting your taxes done right AND for free! We’ll wait.
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