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Should I get married before Dec 31st or after?

I have the opportunity to sign the paperwork before or after--but not sure what the tax ramifications would be.
2 Replies
Level 5

Should I get married before Dec 31st or after?

The ramifications are that it would change your tax filing status - if you are married on December 31st, you can file taxes as either married filing separately or married filing jointly.  If you are single, you must file as single, or, if you have a qualifying dependent, as head of household.  Your individual tax situation determines whether it is more advantageous to be married or single from a tax perspective.

Level 15

Should I get married before Dec 31st or after?

If you were married at the end of 2017 your filing choices are married filing jointly or married filing separately.

Married Filing Jointly is usually better, even if one spouse had little or no income. When you file a joint return, you and your spouse will each receive the $4050 personal exemption, plus the married filing jointly standard deduction of $12,700 (add $1250 for each spouse over the age of 65).  You are eligible for more credits including education credits, earned income credit, child and dependent care credit, and a larger income limit to receive the child tax credit. 

If you choose to file married filing separately, both spouses have to file the same way—either you both itemize or you both use standard deduction. Your tax rate will be higher than on a joint return. Some of the special rules for filing separately include: you cannot get earned income credit, education credits, adoption credits, or deductions for student loan interest. A higher percent of your Social Security benefits may be taxable.  In many cases you will not be able to take the child and dependent care credit. The amount you can contribute to a retirement account will be affected. If you live in a community property state, you will be required to provide additional information regarding your spouse’s income. ( Community property states:  AZ, CA, ID, LA, NV, NM, TX, WA, WI) If  you are using online TurboTax to prepare your returns, you will need to prepare two separate returns and pay twice.

**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**