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It’s that time of the year when many people walk down the aisle and vow to be together till
“death do us part”. Both Don and Jan are excited about the upcoming event of their lives! While
wedding bells ring in happiness and bliss, it also ushers tax worries among other concerns.
Summertime is the most traditional time of year for weddings. They paid a visit to their tax
professional and were instructed on what to do next.
Although we usually associate marriage with Love, Roses and Cake: If you’re walking down the
aisle here is a checklist of TAX matters to consider:

Make sure you change your name with Social Security Administration.
This can be done either online or in person. The Social Security Administration is better
staffed, and much faster than ever before. If you go in person, you will probably be out very
quickly. We dread going to any government office, but this one is on our side.

If you move, be sure to change your address formally. (IRS, financial institutions you
have accounts with, and your employer for W2s. File Form 8822, with the IRS. This lets
them know your new address, so any refunds or notices will not be delayed).
Each company or government agency you do business with needs to know your new address
in writing to be effective. A phone call does not guarantee the update will occur. Be sure to
ALWAYS send such mail certified, so it can be tracked and proven that you let them know.

Your marital status, as of the last day of the year, will decide your tax filing status.
No matter what day you are married or divorced, your status as of December 31, each year is
your tax status. Once you are either married or divorced be sure to calculate the impact of
any marriage penalty to see whether you need to change your income tax withholdings with
your W4. (Remember if you divorce, you lose at least one tax benefit, maybe more if your
former spouse takes the children; and this will cost you more taxes at year end.)

Changes in circumstances.
The IRS reminds newlyweds to add a health insurance review to their to-do list. This is
particularly important if you receive premium help through advance payments of the premium
tax credit via a Health Insurance Provider or Marketplace. If you, your spouse or a dependent
gets health insurance coverage through the Marketplace, you need to let the Marketplace know
you got married. Informing the Marketplace about changes in circumstances, such as marriage or
divorce, allows the Provider or Marketplace to help make sure you have the right coverage for
you and your family and adjust the amount of advance credit payments that the government
sends to your health insurer. Reporting on the changes will help you avoid having too much or
not enough premium help paid to reduce your monthly health insurance premiums. Getting too
much premium help means you may owe added money or get a smaller refund when you file
your taxes. Getting too little could mean missing the monthly premium help that you deserve.
You should also check whether getting married affects your, your spouse’s, or your dependents’
eligibility for coverage through your employer or your spouse’s employer, because that will
affect your eligibility for the premium tax credit.

Other changes in circumstances that you should report to the Health Provider or
Marketplace include:

  • The birth or adoption of a child,
  • Divorce,
  • Getting or losing a job,
  • Moving to a new address, gaining or losing eligibility for employer or government sponsored
    health care coverage, and
  • Any other changes that might affect family composition, family size, income or your
    enrollment.

In addition, certain life events – like marriage – give you and your spouse the opportunity to sign
up for health care during a special enrollment period. That means if one or both of you are
uninsured, you may be able to get coverage now. In most cases, the special enrollment period for
Marketplace coverage is open for 60 days from the date of the life event.

Update your Will and other Estate planning documents annually.
IRA’s, insurance policies and 401k’s all need to be reviewed and/or updated to reflect who
the new beneficiary will be, now that your spouse is no longer the primary beneficiary in
case something happens to you.

Credit scores ALWAYS stay single.
Did you know that once you are married, your individual credit file and your credit score
remain yours alone? Newly married couples may finance a home, a car and other household
items as a unit. This fact can confuse the issue, as it leads people to think that they now have
a joint credit file and joint credit score. That is not the case. When you apply for credit as co-
applicants, both credit files are pulled and considered by the lender. Given that a couple’s
personal credit is dictated by two individual credit files, it is important to order free credit
reports for both you and your spouse, and to supply identity protection for both.

Tax worries of a new spouse do not have to become problems of the other new spouse.
Be sure to consult with a tax professional before you marry. There may be tax issues from a
former life or marriage that can haunt you in the new marriage. But there are also ways to
make sure that the new marriage is NOT haunted by problems of the past. (Consider filing an
Injured Spouse Form 8379).

Same sex married couples.
If you are legally married in a state or country that recognizes same-sex marriage, you
generally must file as married on your federal tax return. This is true even if you and your
spouse later live in a state or country that does not recognize same-sex marriage. Be sure you
know the rules for the state you live in. It may be the same or different from the Federal tax
rules on how to report your taxes.

Call today, don’t delay! See how this affects you. We can be reached at 602-264-9331 and on all social media under azmoneyguy.

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Mr. Hockensmith has been a guest newscaster for national and local TV stations in Phoenix since 1995, broadcasting financial and tax topics to the general pubic. He has written tax and accounting articles for both national and local newspapers and professional journals. He has been a public speaker nationally and locally on tax, accounting, financial planning and economics since 1992. He was a Disaster Reservist at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for many years after his military service. He served as a Colonel with the US Army, retiring from military service after 36 years in 2008. Early in his accounting career, he was a Accountant and Consultant with Arthur Andersen CPA’s and Ernst & Young CPA’s.

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