Post # 1
Hi Bees! I just got married this month (yay!) and now I’m back, trying to figure out the name-change stuff, tax stuff, etc. I’ve taken care of most of everything I can think of (SS card, driver’s license, bank info, etc). But the only thing I haven’t done yet is change anything at work.
My husband and I both make roughly the same amount and both have our own health insurance. I’m pretty sure mine is better so I want to add him to my policy. But I know I also need to change my marital status and possibly exemptions, right? I know nothing about this stuff. We don’t have any kids or any sick parents living with us etc. Whatever it is, I have it set up so I get more money back in my paycheck and not much in April. He, on the other hand, I think has more taken out and gets more money around tax time.
What’s your advice on changing our status at work? Do we just tell the HR people that our status should now say married? Should we change the exemptions? If so, to what? My Mother-In-Law said to just adjust it to say we’re married, file jointly next year and see how much we get back. Then the following year, adjust the exemptions or something.. I really have no idea. I’m trying to read tax stuff online to figure it out.
Advice would be great!!
Post # 3
Congratulations on your marriage! I can’t help as much with the taxes, but I can help with the health insurance. Just be sure to ask questions on how much it would cost to cover him. A lot of companies these days have working spousal surcharges. Basically, if he can be covered under his own work’s plan, but you have him on yours, they can charge you more for that. Just ask your HR about that!
Also, you unfortunately don’t have much time to make the decision on adding him to your health plan. Make sure you do it within 31 days of your marriage; otherwise, they don’t have to add him until open enrollment.
I hope that helps! Just PM me if you have more questions!
Post # 4
For the taxes, I just followed the instructions on the form. Read carefully. When I did it, it had me take out extra from each paycheck.
For the health insurance, you might have to wait until open enrollment to add your hubby – each plan is different. Make an appointment with your HR administrator to go over these things.
Post # 5
Congrats!! As far as filing jointly or seperate, in almost all cases filing jointly is better for couples. Unless one makes way more income or has a bunch of seperate assets, it is better to file jointly. Since you said you make about the same income, I’m 99% sure you should file jointly. Check to be sure, though. (And do either of you have a lot of financial assets?) Yes, you don’t have much time to change the health insurance so do that soon. Talk to HR. They will help you!
Post # 6
Thanks, I will have to ask about that before I jump into it. I downloaded the W-4 form and I’m trying to read an understand it. I’m so confused! Does anyone know if we should be preparing to file itemized tax returns next year? I’ve never done that. We both have one job, no debt, no house and not much other income other than minimal interest on a few bank accounts and stocks. Do you have to file a long form if married?
Post # 7
To be honest, if you have the money, I would hire someone to help you will everything. Is your health insurance private or through your jobs? If it’s job related you may want to keep both just in case something happens to one of your jobs. Just a suggestion. 🙂
Post # 8
I have always filed single 0. Darling Husband has always filed with exemptions from 2-5. He changed his to married 2 and I changed mine to married but withholding at single rate and 0 exemptions. It all depends on whether you want more back now or later. Some couples break even, it all depends on how much you make. I feel more comfortable getting more back at hte end of the year. Some people want it all right away. You do not have to have the same amount of exemptions.
Post # 9
@MrsCoachBtoBee: If you switch to your spouses insurance and they lose their job my company considers that a “life event” and would let me enroll both of us back into my insurance immediately. I would go with whichever one is cheaper/better (somehow my DHs is both)
Post # 10
Personally I want less back each paycheck and more money back at the end of the year. I have filed single and 0 exemptions still. (as has he.) However come time to pay taxes, we file jointly with a tax preparer. This way we get the most money back.; Hope this helps, and i do work HR/payroll.
Post # 11
First of all, congratulations!
One misconception about people have regarding your exemptions you claim on your paycheck is the same as your tax filing. It is not the same, but rather, the exemptions you put on your paycheck (form W-4) is really how much you want to get taxed. In essence, the question is.. “do you want to pay taxes now as in every paycheck or after when you file your taxes.” The lower your exemptions, the higher taxes you pay each paycheck (hence, lower net pay), but more chances of getting a refund when you file your taxes. I would recommend not changing the exemptions until you file your tax returns.
As for filing tax returns, just file “married filing jointly.” Married filing separately gives you no benefit and is one of the highest tax rates, similar to filing single.
I hope this helps, good luck!
Post # 12
I’m really kind of confused. So, basically I shouldn’t change my W-4 at work yet, and neither should he, and we should just file jointly as married for 2011? Then see how much we get and make changes in 2012?
Don’t you have to change the W-4 to say “married” at least? Or no?
Post # 13
I am an accountant (not CPA), and I work on both the payroll end and the tax return end. Your W-4 is basically a standardized form the IRS has made available to your employer that tells your employer what you want deducted from your paycheck each period, based on withholding rates/charts. Therefore, you may put whatever marital status and however many exemptions you wish on this form. As someone stated previously, the more exemptions you list = the less tax withheld each pay period. This results in more cash flow to you throughout the year but less of a refund at tax time. If you seriously skew this number (make it way high so that you get the most you can on your paycheck), you could wind up owing at the end because you had too little withheld. The marital status section also changes the amount you have withheld weekly. You do NOT have to choose your actual legal status on your W-4. I have several married clients who have their income tax withheld from their paychecks at the single rate (higher) because they want to get more back at tax time, they need to cover taxes on other income, etc. If you’d like to get a nice little refund (not promising that, but sounds like you would), keep yourself as single on your W-4 for the rest of the year. According to the joint return you & your husband will file for 2010, your W-4 would read “Married, 2 exemptions,” but again – that is totally up to you.
As for your itemized expenses – if you have no home mortgage interest to report, no extremely high medical expenses, and no very high charitable contributions, do not worry about keeping up with it. The home mortgage interest deduction is what pushes most young people/couples over into “itemizing” territory. Otherwise, the married standard deduction would be best for y’all.
I don’t have much advice on insurance – I don’t do a whole lot with that.
Hope I helped at least a little. If you need further help, just PM me. =)