In order to file a joint tax return in 2023, you have to have been legally married by Dec. 31, 2022. So as long as you got your marriage license in 2022, you're considered married in the eyes of the IRS.
But if you got divorced or legally separated from your spouse at any point during 2022, you're considered unmarried for the entirety of the year and cannot file a joint return.
"The system does not distinguish between parties if they file jointly," says Curley of FinishLine. But if you file separately you won't be liable for your spouse's tax burden.
Curley says "dozens" of his clients over the years ran into this issue because one spouse wasn't transparent with the other about how much money they owe the IRS.
He recommends bringing this up with your partner before you tie the knot.
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