You're still hearing wedding bells, but don't let the honeymoon phase distract you from reality. Money is a huge factor in relationships, and if you don't tackle it from the start, it can start to shake the cornerstones of your marriage. Prep yourself with these tips from H&R Block expert Richard Gartland:
Newly married couples have two filing status options: they can file jointly as a couple or separately. Typically, a joint return often results in a lower tax liability than filing separately, so most opt for that route. However, there are some cases where filing separately as a married couple makes more sense. For example, if you have one spouse with high medical bills and a lower income, that spouse may be able to itemize medical expenses and receive a higher deduction for these expenses, something that may not happen if you filed jointly.
Whether you took your spouse's last name or hyphenated your own, you should report your name change to the Social Security Administration as soon as possible. This will help avoid any delays or problems at tax time, since your name and Social Security Number on your tax return must match the SSA records.
Adjust Income Tax Withholding
If you and your spouse work, your combined income may put you in a higher tax bracket, which will increase your total tax liability. You should make any necessary withholding adjustments for the next year by filing a new W-4 form with your employer. Use the withholding worksheet to indicate whether your spouse works and how many dependents you have, which determines the number of allowances to claim and the amount of income tax employers will withhold from your paychecks.
Identify Your Martial Status
Your marital status on the last day of the year determines your filing status. If you were not married on Dec. 31, 2013, you will file your 2013 returns as Single (unless you meet the requirements to file as Head of Household).