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The Impact of Marriage on Tax Filing and Employment Status


Content provided for general information. Talk to your advisor to learn about recent updates or other rules that may apply to your situation.

Congratulations on your recent marriage! This is an exciting time in your life, but it also brings about some important changes, including how you handle your tax filing and employment status. As you mentioned, your wife is currently living abroad while you wait for her immigrant visa to be processed. This can certainly complicate things, but it's important to understand how marriage affects your taxes and employment status.

Filing as "Single" or "Married"

One of the main questions you may have is whether you should file your tax return as "single" or "married." The answer to this question depends on your specific situation, including your spouse's legal status and where they are currently living. In your case, your spouse is not yet a legal resident of the US, so you cannot file as "married filing jointly."

In general, if you were married on December 31st of the tax year, the IRS considers you married for the entire year. This means you have the option to file as "married filing separately" or "married filing jointly." However, if your spouse does not have a Social Security number or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number), you will not be able to file jointly. In this case, you may have to file as "married filing separately."

It's important to note that filing as "married filing separately" may result in a higher tax liability compared to filing jointly. This is because some tax breaks and deductions are not available for those who file separately. It's always a good idea to consult with a tax advisor before making a decision on how to file.

Employment Status

As for your employment status, it's important to update it to "married" if you are legally married. This is true even if your spouse is not currently living in the US. The reason for this is that your employer will need this information for tax purposes and to ensure they are withholding the correct amount of taxes from your paycheck.

However, if your spouse is not yet a legal resident of the US, you may need to provide additional documentation to your employer, such as a marriage certificate, to prove your marital status. It's always a good idea to consult with your employer's HR department or a tax advisor to ensure you are providing the correct information.

Consulting a Tax Advisor

As mentioned earlier, the specifics of immigration and tax law can be complex, and it's always a good idea to consult with a tax advisor. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific situation and guide you through the process of filing your taxes and updating your employment status. They can also help you understand any tax implications of your spouse's immigration status and any potential tax breaks you may be eligible for.

In addition, it's important to note that tax laws and regulations are constantly changing, and a tax advisor can help you stay updated on any changes that may affect your situation.

Final Thoughts

Getting married is an exciting time, but it also brings about important changes in your financial and tax situation. It's important to understand how marriage affects your tax filing and employment status and to consult with a tax advisor for personalized advice. By staying informed and seeking professional guidance, you can ensure that you are handling your taxes and employment status correctly during this time of transition.