7 Tax Guidelines For Married Couples

How To File Taxes As A Married Couple

The way you handle your taxes will also change. If you got married in 2013, hopefully, you've already considered the impact on your taxes. Learn from these 7 tax guidelines for married couples.

1Know What You're Signing For

You're on the hook for any discrepancies on your joint tax return. This is the primary disadvantage with regards to taxes when married. You have to sign the tax return, even if your spouse did all the work. You are just as liable for any mistakes or fraud as your spouse. Ensure you know what you're signing.

2Advantages Of Retirement Planning

There are advantages of retirement planning. For example, a non-working spouse can still contribute to an IRA. However, the other spouse must have earned money that year.

3You Can Sell Your House

Sell your house and keep more of your profits. As a single person, you can deduct up to $250k in capital gains. Married couples can claim up to $500k. Both of you must have lived in the house for at least two of the previous 5 years. It's okay if only one of you owned the home, as long as you both resided there.

4Deductions For Charitable Donations

The income determines the current charitable donation limits. By combining your incomes, the limit is raised. While this doesn't help couples that are already married, it can be useful if you're getting married. If you donated above the limit, getting married can be a good thing.

5Your Marriage Is Recognized For Tax Purposes

If any state considers you to be married, so does the federal government, at least for federal tax purposes. In August 2013, the IRS ruled that it recognizes all legal same-sex marriages for tax purposes. This holds true even if the couple is currently living in a location that doesn't recognize same-sex marriages. Feel free to get married in another state and then head back home.

6Your Marital Status On December 31st Is What Matters

For tax purposes, you were married for the whole year. Similarly, if you get divorced during the year, you're considered unmarried for that entire tax year. If your spouse dies, you can still claim to be married for that year.

7You Can Shop For Benefits

If you're both employed, you probably have the option of picking the best combination of benefits for your family. Perhaps one spouse has a better 401(k) plan, and the other has a better medical plan. The 401(k) plan could be used to the maximum, and any extra family money could be put towards IRAs.

Marriage has a lot of perks, and that includes some tax advantages. Ensure that you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to finances. Money is a common source of stress and disagreement among couples. Avoid letting tax season add to your financial challenges. Encourage open and honest conversation and get professional help with your taxes, if needed.

About Author

John Quintana

John Quintana is a proud Cuban, a lifelong resident of Miami, Florida, where he lives surrounded by a loving family. When he's not writing, he spends his time either fishing or in the kitchen.