How To File Your Taxes If You Got Married in 2022
If you were married in 2022, congratulations! As the honeymoon phase starts to wind down and real life kicks in, however, you might be left with some questions, especially when it comes to filing taxes before the April 18 deadline.
For example, should you say “I do” to filing individually or jointly? If it’s your first year navigating the IRS as a couple, there are some things to consider to weigh the benefits and negatives of each scenario.
The Option to File Jointly vs. Individual
One of the first things you’ll need to do when filing is to choose what your filing status will be. If you are married, you can choose to file jointly in which yours and your spouse’s income are combined. However, you still have the choice of filing individually if you prefer.
For most people, married filing jointly will be the best choice and will save money on taxes. Married filing separately typically means you’ll lose certain so-called “marriage bonuses.” There are some exceptions, however, when filing separately will result in a larger return.
One interesting thing about getting married and filing your taxes is that if your nuptials took place at the end of 2022, even on Dec. 31, you’re still considered married for the entire year and will need to adjust your taxes as such. Also it’s important to note that both you and your spouse have to agree if you are filing jointly, which is why the IRS will ask for both of your signatures when doing so.
Your best bet is to use an online tax preparation program to do your taxes using both filing statuses. That way, you can use hard numbers to easily compare which filing status is more beneficial for your situation. Either that, or hire a professional tax preparer or consultant to help guide you through the process.
The Tax Brackets To Be Aware of
If you do choose to file jointly, it’s important to note that your tax bracket will change since your tax return will list your combined incomes.
According to the IRS, these are how the 2022 tax year income tax brackets work out for married filing jointly and single filers:
For married couples filing jointly:
- 37% for incomes over $647,850.
- 35% for incomes over $431,900.
- 32% for incomes over $340,100.
- 24% for incomes over $178,150.
- 22% for incomes over $83,550.
- 12% for incomes over $20,550.
- 10% for incomes less than $20,550.
For single filers:
- 37% for incomes over $539,900.
- 35% for incomes over $215,950.
- 32% for incomes over $170,050.
- 24% for incomes over $89,075.
- 22% for incomes over $41,775.
- 12% for incomes over $10,275.
- 10% for incomes less than $10,275.
It should be noted that each dollar of income within each bracket is taxed at that rate. For example, a single filer earning $15,000 would pay 10% on the first $10,275 of their income, and then be taxed 12% on each dollar between $10,276 and $15,000. This is described as one’s effective tax rate, and is due to the progressive tax nature of the federal tax system.
The Advantages of Filing Jointly
According to some experts, filing jointly can be beneficial for your tax situation.
“When you file jointly, that is typically how you get the largest legitimate refund,” Scott Curley, co-CEO of FinishLine Tax Solutions, told USA Today. This is also because there are additional tax credits many couples can take advantage of — including the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. As well, USA Today noted that there are higher income caps if you and your spouse both made the maximum $6,000 contribution to your individual IRA retirement savings accounts.
Taking the Standard Deduction?
One of the big things you’ll want to factor in before making your decision is the standard deduction that you can take advantage of. For tax year 2022 (to be filed in 2023), it’s $25,900 for married couples filing jointly as opposed to $12,950 for individual filers. CPA and partner at EisnerAmper, Tim Speiss, told USA Today this is really important regarding homeowner status. If you don’t own a home and are still renting, he suggested taking the standard deduction and not filing itemized returns, as taking the standard deduction will reduce your tax bill more significantly.
The Cases Where Filing Jointly May Be a Disadvantage
Some people will receive a higher tax bill when they get married than they would have if they filed separately. This often is referred to as the “marriage penalty” — when a couple has similar incomes, the combined income from the joint return will bump them up into a new tax bracket, resulting in higher taxes (this largely applies to state income taxes).
As well, per USA Today, if one spouse had significant medical expenses, it might be better to file individually. “That’s because the tax code allows you to deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. When you file jointly you have one adjusted gross income which that 7.5% rule applies to,” contributor Elisabeth Buchwald wrote.
Other Tax Tips Newlyweds Should Keep in Mind
- Check Your Withholding To Avoid Surprises: One thing a lot of folks don’t think about is that they might need to adjust the withholding on their paychecks when they get married to avoid a surprise hit when the tax deadline arrives. Getting married and having a dual-income household could mean that your tax rate will go up along with your combined income. If you don’t adjust your withholding using the W-4 form, you might end up owing a big tax bill come tax day. Your best bet is to figure out what your withholding should be via the IRS tax withholding estimator and then to adjust your amount as soon as you can.
- Name Changes: If you’re changing your last name when you get married, you’ll need to update all the government records with your new name. Make sure the Social Security Administration is notified of your name change. If you don’t, your taxes could be rejected because the name and Social Security number on your return don’t match. If you haven’t legally changed your name, file your taxes with your previous last name. Also, don’t forget to update your address if you moved when you got married. You can do that in advance by notifying the IRS with Form 8822, or just update it when you file.
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Peter Anderson contributed to a previous version of this article.