Life tends to get more complicated after marriage. And your taxes are no exception.
Getting married will change the way you file your taxes every April 15. There is good news, though: Many of the changes will be positive ones that can help boost your deductions and save you money.
Let’s look at five of the biggest tax changes you’ll face after the wedding bells stop ringing.
1. Filing Jointly vs. Separately
Once married, couples have to face a big tax decision: Should they file their taxes jointly or separately? In most cases, married couples who file their taxes jointly save more money. But there can be exceptions.
Couples who file their taxes jointly in 2017 will qualify for a standard deduction of $12,700. When married couples file separately, they each can claim a standard deduction of $6,350. Note that if your spouse chooses to instead itemize their deductions, you will have to as well.
Filing jointly makes especially good financial sense for married couples in which one person earns significantly more than the other. The averaging effect of combining two incomes can bring these couples out of higher tax brackets.
When couples file jointly, they might also qualify for several tax credits and deductions that they wouldn’t otherwise get if filing separately. This could include the earned income tax credit, child and dependent care tax credit, American Opportunity Act education credit, and the Lifetime Learning education tax credit. Couples who have adopted might also qualify for adoption tax credits when they file jointly. You also will not be allowed to deduct student loan interest if you and your spouse opt to file separately.
This doesn’t mean that filing jointly is always the right decision for married couples. Say one spouse has significant medical expenses, casualty losses, or miscellaneous itemized deductions. Taxpayers can deduct medical expenses and casualty losses only after they pass 10% of their adjusted gross…