Marriage Offers a Number of Tax Advantages

If you got married sometime during 2013, your tax status has changed -- and you will likely save more money than you are used to on your Federal taxes this year. Marriage offers a number of tax advantages, and can significantly affect how much you pay, or how much you get back. There are some aspects of tax law to be considered carefully before you and your spouse file.

Married couples can file as "Married, Filing Jointly" or as "Married, Filing Separately". Even if you tied the knot in December, for tax purposes you are considered married for the entire year, so you cannot claim single status. This is usually a good thing, as two working adults filing jointly usually keeps you in a lower tax bracket -- especially if one of you earns significantly more than the other one. If you haven't already looked into the amount of money you and/or your spouse are having withheld from paychecks, you may want to consider at least one of you reducing the withholding amount, because being in a lower tax bracket means that you don't need to give as much to Uncle Sam every month. Also, some tax credits are designated only for married couples filing jointly.

There is a substantial home sale tax advantage given to married couples who sell their primary home -- joint filers can exclude twice the amount of taxable gain from the sale as individual filers can (from $250,000 to $500,000). If a couple has both plans to move and plans to get married in the near future, this makes it much smarter to have the wedding before putting that house on the market.