News For Newlyweds

Tax tips from SCDOR

Lee Rogers
June 16, 2020 - 10:53 am
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The South Carolina Department of Revenue issued the following media release Tuesday.

While your wedding plans may have changed this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however you get married carries tax changes you should consider before walking down the aisle.

The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) offers these tax tips to consider in your new tax life together:

Consider premarital counseling. If you both complete a qualifying premarital counseling course within 12 months of getting your marriage license, you can claim a $50 nonrefundable credit on your Individual Income Tax Return ($25 if only one of you completes the course). Visit our website for more information.

Adjust your W-4, the form that regulates the amount of tax withheld from your paycheck. You may need to have more or less tax withheld. The idea is not to withhold too little and be surprised next year with an unexpected tax bill, or to withhold too much money that could be used for other expenses throughout the year.

Notify the government of name and address changes. Since state and federal tax returns are tied to Social Security Numbers, notify the Social Security Administration of any new name using Form SS-5. You'll need to notify the US Postal Service, the IRS (using form 8822), and the SCDOR (using MyDORWAY or form SC8822) of any address changes.

Decide if you'll file next year's Income Tax returns as married filing jointly or married filing separately. Choosing the right filing status can save you money. 

Filing jointly allows both spouses to potentially claim earned income tax credits, student loan interest, child tax credits, and a larger deduction. But it can also put you on the hook for your spouse's past tax liabilities, if they have any. Couples filing jointly can save more money on the amount of tax-free profit on a home sale, which doubles assuming the sale came after the wedding and meets other tax criteria.

With separate returns, each spouse is only responsible for their return and their tax liability. If you file separately, you must both claim the standard deduction or itemize. One of you cannot itemize while the other claims the standard deduction.

Consider discussing the right filing status for you with a certified tax professional.

Select the right form to file your returns. For instance, a couple may have enough deductions jointly to itemize but may not have enough when filing separately.

For more tips and information on filing Individual Income Tax returns, visit the SCDOR's website at dor.sc.gov/iit

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