The wedding was amazing and you’re officially married, but that doesn’t mean the planning is over. No, you may not be debating menus, sending invitations, or getting fitted for formal wear, but according to the IRS, you and your new spouse do still have some important decisions to make about your US expat taxes.
Marriage and Your US Expat Taxes
In a recent publication, the IRS recommended that newlyweds do several things to ensure they don’t unintentionally put themselves in a difficult situation with their US expat taxes. Their suggestions include:
- Check your withholding. If you both work, you and your new spouse’s combined income may move you into a higher tax bracket. For expats who work for US employers, this may mean you will need to make adjustments on your W-4 Form; to determine the correct withholding for your situation, refer to Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax. If you work for a non-US employer, you may still want to evaluate any taxes that are currently being withheld. To learn more about your tax obligations in your host country, look at our Country-Specific Guides.
- Select the right tax form. Many taxpayers who are single use Form 1040 EZ, but as a married couple, you may find it makes more financial sense to itemize your deductions on your tax returns. To do that, you will need to file your US expat taxes using the Form 1040.
- Choose the best filing status. Your marital status on December 31 determines whether you are considered married for that tax year or not. Tax laws allow you to choose whether to file jointly or separately for any given year. It’s likely that you will benefit more by filing your US expat taxes jointly, but that is not always the case. Some taxpayers choose to fill out their tax returns both ways to see which one is most advantageous.
Beyond Your US Expat Taxes
Along with considerations for your US expat taxes, don’t forget that your marriage may impact other aspects of your life and may require you to notify the government and your employer, too.
- Notify the Social Security Administration. If you’ve changed your name, report the change to the Social Security Administration. File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. The form is available on SSA’s website at www.ssa.gov.
- Notify the IRS. If you have moved, you will need to notify the IRS using Form 8822. You may also want to complete the necessary change of address notifications with the postal service of your host country.
- Notify your employer. Some companies extend additional benefits to the spouses and step-children of their employees. You may want to ask your human resources department whether any benefits will change as a result of your marriage, and what steps you need to take to ensure you receive any additional benefits due to you and your spouse.
Help With Your US Expat Taxes
If you are unsure how your new marriage will impact your US expat taxes, or if you want someone to help you work through the tax planning and preparation process, Greenback Expat Taxes can help. Our expat tax experts have the knowledge and experience to help you and your spouse limit what you owe on your US expat taxes and ensure that you fully meet your tax obligations. Bottom line: your marriage brings another reason to ensure your finances and your US expat taxes are squared away for the future!
Be sure to have a look at our post on what items to check for on your US taxes to ensure they are filed correctly. Then, if you have any other questions or would like to learn about our expat tax services, please contact us.