4 Tips When Filing a Joint Tax Return

Once you have tied the knot, there are a number of things you need to get done. From legally changing your name to looking for properties to call home, the post-honeymoon to-do list can be a long one. One important factor to consider after marriage is whether or not you are going to file a joint tax return. If you already have a joint bank account or a shared credit card, filing this type of return may be a good idea. 

Even if you are married, you are still allowed to file a separate tax return, but you may want to reconsider that idea. According to the IRS, married couples who filed a joint return were able to deduct an average of $12,200 in 2013. Married couples who filed separate returns, on the other hand, made average deductions of $6,100. These deductions can be very beneficial. Not only will they decrease the amount you have to pay back to the government, but you can use your potential refund to whittle down your credit card debt to help you improve your credit score. But before you start inputting all your information on a joint tax return, you should do some research beforehand. Here are a few things to consider when you are filing a joint tax return:

Choosing a specific form to fill out
As you are preparing all of your documents to get your tax return completed, keep in mind that you may need to fill out your information on a different tax return. A 1040 form is standard return to fill out, but as a married couple, you have two other options:

  • Form 1040EZ: Those filing joint returns and have no dependents.
  • Form 1040A: Those filing joint returns who have several dependents.

Call upon experts
Filing a normal tax return can be stressful, and doing a joint tax return for the first time may seem a bit more daunting. If you are having trouble completing this task, you can always call upon the services of a certified public accountant. These professionals will be able to guide you through the process of doing joint tax returns and even give you a few tips on other financial areas, such as your credit score.

Switch employer information forms
Along with telling your friends and loved ones about your nuptials, don't forget to alert your company's human resources department. This is important because you need to exchange your W-2 form in for a W-4 form. This new document has a few extra perks, as you can claim additional exemptions when you are married.

Additional deductions
Filing a separate tax return instead of a joint one can lead to you missing out on several deductions. Deductions are an important part of the tax season, because the more you have, the less you will have to pay back to the government. These are some of the most common deductions for married couples:

  • Mortgage interest
  • Student loan interest
  • Earned income credit
  • Property taxes
  • Dependent and child care payments