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My fiancee and I are engaged to get married next year (July). I make significantly more income does she this year (she was a student this year), but she will be getting a new job that starts in January.

I checked with some online calculators, and it appears that filing jointly would save a bunch on taxes for this year. Next year when she gets a new job the savings won't be as much (but there will still be savings).

I guess my question is, should we get married before Dec 31st of this year at the court (and just "celebrate" our wedding in July)? Or would the tax savings not be any different if we file next year

Obviously, taxes aren't a reason to get married, but the thousands of dollars in savings could go toward a wedding...

  • I'm just guessing, but I'm going to tag your question as US-related. Usually, people from other countries tend to mention their countries. – littleadv Dec 13 '15 at 7:36
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    Unsolicited Advice: Reconsider this. Although it might save you thousands, it may not be worth the pressure you would put on yourselves to get married early, and saving money toward a fake wedding next year might not be what your fiancé wants. Proceed carefully. – Ben Miller Dec 13 '15 at 16:45
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You are correct. If you get married by December 31, you will file as married for this year (Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately) instead of Single. That could indeed save you some amount of taxes, if your situation is as you described. Some people do plan their date of marriage in such a way to optimize tax savings. Whether your marriage date should be set in such a way is your personal decision.

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Yes on taxes.

It depends on the other point.

As you already see from Ben's comment, if you're both very Western in your culture, you may want to consider Ben's advice because while you will save money, it may not be considered a healthy way to start a relationship. Western culture tends to see marriage as more of a "do it for love" whereas other cultures may view marriage more pragmatically and take economics and finance as a major consideration.

For instance, a friend of mine married his spouse and it was 100% pragmatic - considering taxes and laws, driving most of his family insane because "it doesn't sound very loving" (these were the exact words). Unfortunately, this created tension later on because family on both sides kept telling both of them that the other didn't love the partner and they used how their marriage started as proof. As surprising as it is to me (non-Western), many Americans are horrified at people marrying at the JOP or other pragmatic ways, even if it saves them thousands.

Answering questions about relationships is very difficult because often the issue is less about money and more about culture. If you're both from pragmatic cultures where economics and finance weigh strongly and you don't see possible issues with family (and really be honest on this point), then consider the financial advantages.

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