You've gone through two major life changes in the past year: getting hitched and moving to a different state. When tax time rolls around, you'll want to know how each of these events affects the return you file so that you can reap the most money possible in credits and deductions.
Married Status and Filing
Whether you got married on Jan. 1 or Dec. 31 of a year, you're considered married for that entire year as far as the Internal Revenue Service is concerned. The IRS offers some advice on completing your tax returns as a married couple: contact the Social Security Administration about any name changes so that the names of you and your new spouse match the identifying information on your return; notify the IRS of your change of address; and adjust your withholding allowance by filling out a new W-4 form through your employer because the number of exemptions you are entitled to take as a married couple has changed, plus your combined salary may have shifted you into a higher tax bracket. Also decide whether you will file separately or jointly.
Married Deductions and Forms
As a married couple, you may be entitled to a variety of deductions and credits. As of the 2013 tax year, the standard deduction is $12,200 for married taxpayers filing jointly, otherwise married people filing separately must both take the standard deduction of $6,100 or must both itemize their deductions. Because your combined resources could make itemizing your deductions more favorable than taking the standard deduction, use the correct form if you choose that route: the 1040, and not 1040A or 1040EZ. Filing jointly on returns benefits some married couples by lowering their tax bracket, whereas others may be better off filing separately to avoid paying more taxes, especially if one spouse has high medical expenses.
Assuming you moved permanently to the new state, you'll have to file a part-year resident return in your former state, as well as in your new state. On each return, you specify what portion of the year you spent in that state, to be taxed accordingly. Note that if you move to a state with no income tax -- Washington, Texas, Florida, Wyoming, Nevada, Alaska or South Dakota -- you'll have to spend less than 183 days in your former state a year to avoid being taxed in that state.
State Filing: Joint or Separately
Even if you filed jointly on your federal returns, there may be some instances when going solo on your state returns is the way to go. If your spouse lived for the entire year in the state where you now reside, yet you lived part of the year in a different state, then moved, you may want to file your state returns separately for the tax year in which you moved because some states will treat the joint part-year resident filer as a full-time resident -- with inflated tax consequences.
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