Saying “I DO”

You or someone you know is planning or has taken the step to say “I DO”.  Marriage changes many things and taxes is one of them. Newlyweds should know how tying the knot can affect their tax situation.  And the effect happens long before you file your first “Married, filing jointly” income tax return.  Here are some things to remember:

  • If you are changing your name upon marriage, notify the Social Security Administration as soon after the wedding as possible.  You want to make certain that their records have been updated before you file your return and expect to receive a refund.  If not, your refund could be delayed.  To update information, taxpayers should file Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. It is available on, by calling 800-772-1213 or at a local SSA office.

  • If you will be changing your address, you should notify the IRS by filing Form 8822 – Change of Address and by filing a change of address form with the US Postal Service.

  • You may need to consider your withholdings from your wages.  It is necessary that you give your employer a new Form W-4 within 10 days of your marriage (this is something that could be done in advance and you request your employer to hold implementation of the updated information until after your wedding).  Failure to do so could result in improper withholdings, which is better to address sooner rather than possibly learning of an added tax liability when you file your first joint income tax return.  The Tax Withholding Estimator on provides helpful information in this regard. 

  • Even though married filing jointly is usually more beneficial, the option of married filing separately is an option.  If filing separately, there are certain consistencies between the returns that must be made, such as both spouses must either file using the standard deduction or using itemized deductions.  Each spouse cannot make their own selection. 

  • Even if you marry on New Year’s Eve, you are considered to have been married for the entire year. 

  • Being newly married may subject you to scams, so be cautious.  Remember that the IRS will send a notice via USPS and won’t call you or email you.  (All the more reason to file that Form 8822.)

Best wishes for many years of wedded bliss. 



About the Author

Kay Sowa is a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates Group at Capehart & Scatchard, P.A. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent, an Accredited Estate Planner®, and a Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor. She oversees the trust and estate administration practice for the firm. She is an accomplished author and lecturer who has frequently spoken on behalf of a number of organizations including the National Business Institute and the Institute of Paralegal Education.

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