taxes

Tax breaks with marriage

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Getting married
Getting married © MNStudio - Fotolia.com

Getting married

Uncle Sam probably wasn't a guest at your wedding, but he becomes a big part of your life when you are a married taxpayer. Now that you've combined your personal lives, you likely will do the same with your tax filing.

Married filing jointly is the most common choice of married couples because it generally produces the best tax results. The once-dreaded marriage tax penalty has been largely eliminated thanks to the broadening of the tax bracket for that filing status. Plus, some tax breaks aren't allowed to a husband and wife who file separate returns.

If both husband and wife work, each should reassess withholding amounts. The IRS says it's generally better for the higher-earning spouse to claim all the couple's allowances on his or her W-4, with the lower wage earner claiming zero.

Reassess your individual retirement accounts. Income limits apply to tax-free Roth accounts and also with deductible traditional IRAs if you or your spouse contributes to a workplace plan. So your combined income could affect your retirement contributions.

Update your flexible spending account. A new marriage is a change in family circumstances that allows you to make midyear changes to this tax-favored company benefit plan.

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