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Newlyweds and Taxes…

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Our Federal Tax Refund Finally Arrived! It was almost $2,000. That’s a lot of money, and a lot more than I would like to receive in a refund. I prefer not to give the government a free loan if I can help it!

While I would prefer not to pay too much in taxes, our situation this past year was not one that lent itself to easy tax planning: I separated from the military, was out of work several months (yes, you have to pay taxes on unemployment benefits!), moved to a new state, got married, and started a new job. My wife, a military member and non-resident of the state we live in, deployed to a tax free zone toward the end of the year. As a non-resident of the state, she does not pay state income tax. (Most states allow you to maintain residency if you are a military member and do not live in that state because of military obligations. Many do not charge state taxes if you do not physically reside in the state).

If anyone could have planned for that, I would be extremely impressed!

When we filed our federal taxes this year, we filed under my name and my wife’s maiden name (she deployed before having a chance to legally change it). She legally changed her name when she returned and we changed it on our joint bank account before we filed our taxes. So instead of filing electronically, we mailed in our taxes and received a paper check. I wasn’t sure if we would have any problems trying to file electronically and have the money sent to a bank account with a different name. We got a paper check this week and deposited it to our account with no problems.

Hopefully next year’s taxes will be better, but it still won’t be cut and dry… We will definitely be able to file our federal taxes electronically, but my wife will separate from the military and become a resident of the state we currently live in. The money she earns from military income won’t be taxed at the state level (she will be a resident of the other state until she separates from the military), and any income after she separates will be taxed for the state we live in.

I expect we may get another refund next year, but hopefully a little smaller. Eventually we will have kids… then everything changes!


Published or updated February 8, 2011.
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