Wedding season is upon us! If you’re in the throes of planning your big day, with all of the other details and expenses to work through, tax return preparation is probably the last thing on your mind. But, take a minute to read through these tips, and it’s pretty likely you’ll save yourself some hassle down the road.
● What’s in a name: If a name change is taking place, make sure you report it to the Social Security Administration as soon as possible. It’s important to confirm that the names you will enter on your first joint tax return match the names on file with the SSA. Make sure you let your employers know of the name change (and address change, if applicable) to make sure you get your Form W-2 and Tax Statement from them in a timely manner.
● Joint filing: Even if you get married on Dec. 31, 2011, you are considered to have been married for the entire year. The IRS Withholding Calculator will help you figure the correct amount of withholding for a married couple. Making a change to your withholding now can eliminate or reduce a tax bill in the upcoming year. Use a Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, to make the needed adjustments and give the form to your employer.
● Flowers, possibly; Honeymoon, probably not: If you donate your wedding dress to a women’s shelter or your flowers to a nursing home after the event, you may be able to deduct these expenses from your taxes. If you opt to make a charitable donation with the money you ask for in lieu of gifts, that’s another deductible expense. However, don’t go overboard. Other expenses, like trying to deduct catering costs by inviting clients and business associates as guests or piggybacking the honeymoon off a business trip are more questionable.
While none of this may seem very romantic, planning ahead for next tax season will save you time and stress down the road. It’s not a bad idea to talk to your tax accountant or tax preparer in advance to find out what other tips or deductions apply specifically to your situation. Of course, if you don’t have a professional on hand, find a local tax return service for more information.