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So I'm pretty young and don't completely understand how I should be handling my taxes. I've been burned year over year recently by being a contractor and have recently started to pay attention closely to my tax filings so as not to make mistakes, but something happened recently and I'm not sure what's correct. So here's the situation:

I live in Rhode Island and work in Massachusetts. I got married in the beginning of 2014. I was with my employer since the previous year and never updated my marital status. It is now 2015. I just changed jobs and had to fill out all of my paperwork. When I received my first paycheck I compared the details to my previous check.

Previous Checks

Taxable Marital Status:    Single
Exemptions/Allowances
Federal  1
MA       1

Current Check

Taxable Marital Status:    Married
Exemptions/Allowances
Federal  1
MA       1
RI       1

This worries me because I noticed that, for a similar amount of gross income, my federal tax amount is significantly lower on my new checks than my previous checks. Additionally, on neither check do I see a deduction for RI State Income Tax, although there is one for MA State Income Tax.

So my question is: am I right to be worried? Did I fill out something wrong? Or are my current checks correct and, because I didn't update my marital status, I was missing out on money earlier this year in my checks? Essentially, what boat am I in now and how, if I need to, do I fix any mistakes I've made.

I really appreciate any help you can provide me with.

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Regarding your marital status, it is expected to see less federal tax withheld when switching from single to married. You may have missed out on a larger paycheck by not updating with your old employer, but it will not change your federal tax owed when filing a federal return. Your refund would have simply been larger because you overpaid your federal taxes.

It is normal for your state income tax to be withheld for MA and not RI. You will, however, have to file a state income tax return for both MA and RI. Rhode Island taxes you on any income, made in-state or out-of-state, but RI also has a tax credit to offset the income tax you paid throughout the year to MA.

  • So the additional entry under the exemptions for RI on my new checks shouldn't concern me? I'm worried that I am now underpaying because of this exemption that I didn't see on my previous check. – Will Custode Jul 2 '15 at 19:40
  • I don't think it should matter, but really only your payroll office will know for sure. – Jesse Jul 2 '15 at 19:43

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