5 things you need to know about marriage and taxes :: greensboro accounting professional

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Today, I am so happy to have my CPA, the wonderful Mr. Scott Cornelius, guest blog about 5 things you need to know about marriage and taxes. I found Scott last year through Dave Ramsey's website, and I don't think I could have found a more kind and helpful individual to assist me with filing my business and personal tax returns. I highly recommend him to anyone looking for a CPA in the Triad area. Take it away, Scott: 

Congratulations on finding the love of your life!  One of the most life changing events is now behind you.  So now that you are married, many changes are ahead of you.  Some of those changes are contained in the tax code administered by the IRS.

1. Tax Filing Status

Now that you are officially married, you and your spouse can no longer file as single on your tax return.  You can choose to file jointly or married filing separately.  By filing jointly, most couples will notice their tax bill decrease.  This filing status is usually best if only one spouse works or if both work and one makes considerably more than the other.  The benefit is that the larger income is taxed in a lower tax bracket.  The income level at which you jump to the next tax rate bracket is higher for married filing jointly versus single filers.

There are a few situations that make married filing separately a better choice.  For example, if one spouse has large medical expenses, it will be easier to meet the deduction threshold if only his or her income is considered. 

Another reason to file separately is if one spouse is concerned about a tax position the other wants to take (i.e. not claiming income or taking ineligible deductions).  When filing jointly, each spouse is generally held liable for all of the tax due on the return and any penalties and interest arising out of errors on the return. 

2. IRA Contributions

In most cases, a taxpayer must have earned income to contribute to an IRA.  One exception to this applies to married couples.  If one spouse does not have income, he or she may still contribute to an IRA.  Additionally, the income phase out limits for making IRA contributions are higher for married couples than for single filers. 

Depending on your situation, this may allow you and your spouse to save thousands of dollars for retirement and get considerable tax deductions that you would not have qualified for when filing single.

3. Charitable Contributions

Married couples may qualify for a larger current charitable contribution deduction.  Generally, charitable contributions are limited by your income so for married couples with two incomes, filing jointly may increase your ability to deduct a large charitable donation.

4. Home Sale Gain Exclusion

In most cases, purchasing a home is the single most expensive purchase a person or couple makes.  The good news is that when the home is sold, much of the gain on the sale may be excluded from tax and married couples are allowed twice the exclusion that single taxpayers get.  Married couples are able to exclude up to $500,000 in gain on the sale of a home which was used as their primary residence for two of the preceding five years.  The limit for single filers is $250,000. 

5. Final Notes

According to the tax code, if you are married by December 31, you are treated as married for the full year.  Depending on when your wedding is scheduled, you may be able to time some income and deduction items to occur in the year that will benefit you and your spouse the most. 

For more information on these and other tax items affected by marital status, seek the advice of a qualified tax professional.

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Scott Cornelius is a licensed CPA in North Carolina and began his career in public accounting in 1993 after graduating from UNC Chapel Hill with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Accounting. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants (NCACPA). Scott has also been chosen by Dave Ramsey as his CPA endorsed local provider for the Triad area.

 

how to beat the wedding planning stress :: greensboro health coach

I had the honor of meeting today's guest blogger, the lovely Amelia of Amelia Brady Health and Wellness Coaching, LLC, at a wedding event at our local Swoozie's store just a few months ago, and she is an absolute delight. I was thrilled when she accepted my offer to write a few tips for my brides-to-be, and boy did she deliver!

Be sure to check out Amelia's website, sign up for her newsletter, and follow her on Facebook ... she regularly hosts a variety of complimentary events that you won't want to miss!

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So you're engaged...

Life just got a little more complicated, but it's okay because you're marrying the man of your dreams! You have a beautiful ring, dreams of a lavish honeymoon, and hopes for the new family life you're building. But, all of the stress is starting to take a toll. What's a girl to do?

Focus on what matters most

Often times wedding planning takes on a life of its own, and it becomes almost like a full time job. Remember to focus on your new family, your husband's wishes for the big day, and most importantly, once the wedding is over, you will be married to the man of your dreams.

Take a time out

Here's a quick breathing technique when times get a little rough around the edges... close your eyes, place the tip of your tongue behind your front teeth, put your hands on your belly, and take a deep slow inhale. Upon exhaling, open your mouth and release like a big sigh (this is a MAJOR stress reducer).  Repeat up to four times.  And don't forget about your "me" time, whether that means a walk in the park with the pup, a mani and pedi with the girls, or reading a good book in the hammock. Give love to yourself every now and then; it's vital to recharge so you can be a whole person for your better half!

"Workout" your stress

Hit the gym, go for a bike ride or do something fun to stay motivated throughout your program. If weight loss and fitting perfectly in the dress for your wedding day is your goal, don't just focus on hard core aerobic burning exercise. It's important to maintain balance and stay calm... try meditation or mindful tension and muscle releasing exercises like Yoga or Tai Chi. You might be surprised by how much these techniques can help before, during, and after the wedding planning, too!

Eat for wellness, not deprivation

When our bodies are under stress, one of the first things to go is Vitamin B.  Here are some great tips to keep the "happy" nutrients in check and under control.

Nuts - High in Vitamin E which gives our skin a ravishing glow, keeps us full longer, and have healthy fats

Salmon - Contains essential Omega 3's which help lower stress hormones like cortisol

Spinach - A great source for calming magnesium and calcium, also known for its calming properties

More than anything ladies, stay hydrated! Our bodies are made up of 70% water, and it’s super important because it keeps us sharp and healthy overall.

Stay healthy and happy for your big day and beyond! Life is not a destination, it is the journey that matters. Stay positive towards yourself and others, and this day will be a beautiful, well planned success!

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Amelia Brady  is board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and received her health coach training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC.  She empowers women to make lasting changes in their wellness journey by creating a judgment free, loving environment through accountability and individualized support through each step of the program.  She offers complimentary initial consultations. Please check out her website for more details and to schedule at www.ameliabrady.com.