17 tax tips when planning for the marriage penalty


Financial advisors and tax professionals can help guide clients concerned about hits to their finances upon marriage by using an array of planning strategies. 

“We obviously want to encourage people not to let the tax wag the dog,” said Liting Chuang, a certified public accountant who’s the director of tax planning for Menlo Park, California-based Bordeaux Wealth Advisors.

The spouses-to-be may face even more tax issues than most people might imagine, though. Financial Planning compiled the below list of tax tips relating to the so-called marriage penalty by speaking with Chuang and three other experts.

Their advice and that of other available research and analysis begins with the most well known area, income taxes, and extends into Social Security benefits, capital gains, several deductions, racial disparities and even the timing of a couple’s wedding day. At its most basic root, the term “marriage penalty” simply refers to any aspect of personal finance in which a couple finds themselves at a disadvantage as two people compared to a single person.

FP came up with 17 different tips by speaking with Chuang, consulting many available guides to the marriage penalty and interviewing the following other CPAs and planners:   

  • Amy Irvine, an enrolled agent and certified financial planner who’s the founder of Corning, New York-based Rooted Planning Group;
  • Rupa Pereira, an EA and founder of Apex, North Carolina-based FWJ Planning; and

To see FP’s list of 17 tax tips when planning for a marriage, scroll down the slideshow. For a deeper look at other tax strategies for clients’ families, see “11 tax tips on mortgages and homeownership” or “Planning for the cost of continuing care retirement communities.”


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