Law & Legal & Attorney Tax Law

Tax Write-Offs for Newlyweds

    Wedding

    • You may be able to deduct a number of wedding costs from your taxable income. If you were married in a religious ceremony, for instance, any donations you made for the use of the church--or mosque, temple or other house of worship--might be deductible. The same may apply if you pay for the use of a historic building or a state park for the ceremony. If you donate leftover food and flowers--or even your gown--to charity, you can claim that as a write-off, too.

    Filing Status

    • One big tax break for many couples is the ability to claim joint filing status. If you're single, you pay 10 percent on your income up to $8,500, as of 2011; if you're married, the jump to a 15 percent tax rate comes at $17,000. If only one of you works, or one of you makes substantially less than the other, filing jointly often results in a lower total tax rate for your combined income than when you filed alone.

    Considerations

    • If you're married and filing jointly, a number of other tax breaks may come your way. For example, the IRS only allows you to contribute $5,000 to your IRA; if your spouse doesn't work, you can contribute the same tax-free amount to his IRA, for a $10,000 total. As a married couple, you can only claim some tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, by filing jointly. If you sell your home, the tax-exempt amount you can claim as joint filers doubles from what single or separate filers could claim.

    Drawbacks

    • Under some circumstances filing jointly can work against you when paying your taxes. When you deduct medical expenses, you have to subtract 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income--a figure you calculate on your Form 1040--from the total deduction, then claim the rest. If you're filing jointly, that figure becomes 7.5 percent of your combined income, rather than yours alone. If one of you has substantial medical expenses, it might make more sense to file separately, at least for this year.

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