Your Life

Your Life

Major life milestones often have a major tax impact. Changes in your marital status, having a baby or adopting a child can have significant impact on your taxes. This is the place to ask questions about dependents, real estate, and other various scenarios that play a significant role in what taxes you pay.

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Valued Pioneer
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎11-28-2015
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Got married in October, don't know how to file

I recently got married in October (yay!). However, my wife does not work but she does attend college. Do I add her as a dependant? Or how do I change the way I file?

Tax Pro
Posts: 1,445
Registered: ‎09-04-2014

Re: Got married in October, don't know how to file

[ Edited ]

Welcome to the Community. Congratulations on your recent marriage. 

while this sounds like a straight forward question there are some tax implications involved such as is she eligible to be claimed as a qualifying child by her parents? 

To be a qualifying child of her parents all of the following requirements must be met.

Relationship.....she meets this

Residency........did she live in her parents home over 6 months, except for temporary absences ( college meets this)?

Age..................Is she under 19 or under 24 and a full time student?

Support............Did she provide over 50% of her own support ( this includes college loans taken out by her)?

Joint Return.....is she filing a joint return with her spouse and they are only filing to receive a refund of taxes withheld or if filing      married filing separate  and neither has a tax liability?

If she does not meet those requirements, then you should file Married Filing Jointly. An Education Credit will probably be available for you.

If she meets the above requirements I suggest you visit a local HRBlock office and discuss what should be done.

For additional information on this subject IRS publication 17 is a good starting point. 

 

 

BettyB
Sr. Tax Analyst
Valued Pioneer
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎11-28-2015

Re: Got married in October, don't know how to file

Thank you, Betty! This was very helpful.

I just have a couple more follow up questions (sorry for not providing context)....

 

We have been living together for 3 years, so she hasn't been living with her parents for a while. She only attends school part-time, she did not receive student loans (I paid out of pocket) and she turns 24 on Dec. 18th.

 

Would you still recommend filing jointly at this point?

Alumni Associate
Posts: 1,925
Registered: ‎12-13-2013

Re: Got married in October, don't know how to file

Hello portland.

From the details you've provided in your question(s), it seems most likely that you should file as Married Filing Jointly (MFJ) on your 2015 income tax return. I am assuming since you paid out-of-pocket for your wife's college tuition and course supplies that you probably have income at a high enough level to have a tax liability if you filed your own return as Married Filing Separately (MFS), which would disallow her parents from claiming her on their taxes. To be certain, one other thing you can do is to utilize the H&R Block Tax Estimator at the following link:

http://www.hrblock.com/get-answers/tax-calculators.html?nav=tax-estimator#/en/te/aboutYou

One more thing to note is if your wife is attending school at least on a half-time basis, she may still qualify for an education tax credit (such as the American Opportunity Credit) if she meets all the criteria, but you would need to file as MFJ to claim it (or any other). MFS automatically disallows claiming of ANY education credit benefit.

I hope this helps. Good luck to you.
WillMc1
Tax Professional (Retired)
Valued Pioneer
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎11-28-2015

Re: Got married in October, don't know how to file

Thank you both! This was very helpful indeed!

Tax Pro
Posts: 1,445
Registered: ‎09-04-2014

Re: Got married in October, don't know how to file

I agree with WillMc, married filing jointly is the way to go. Your wife should receive a 1098T from her college with information you will use on your return. (If possible it would be nice to have the transcript from the school separating expenses.)  If she attends school at least half time and you spent more out of pocket than $4000 you should be eligible for the AOC if she is not a graduate student. If a graduate student she would still be eligible for the lifetime credit. 

Since you have been living together for several years and she did not work, did you claim her on your tax return?  If not, You may want to take your returns back to 2012 and have HRBlock do a free second look on your returns. Possibly you could be due some extra monies. Just a little motherly advice! 

Merry Christmas and a very Happy 2016. 

BettyB
Sr. Tax Analyst