Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/Marriage


My fiance and I are getting married February 2013 in Mexico.  We are currently residents of California and are under the impression we need to do our wedding in state as to get the ceremony legalized in Mexico is complicated.  We live together and she is in school and did not work this year.  

My question is this:  Should we try to get married this year so we can file jointly to lower our tax liability or can I just claim her as a dependent and get a similar tax credit?  Sentimentally we'd like to officially get married near our February ceremony, but if it's going to save us thousands of dollars as I make over 100,000 then it's hard to not consider the option.  Thanks


Thanks for your question.

I can't tell you when to get married, but your tax liability would probably be lower if you could file married, jointly.  Not being married you would have to file as single and could claim a dependency exemption for her only if she lived with you the entire year, had less than $3,800 in gross income, and you provided over half her support.

Hope this helps.

John Stancil, CPA

Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)

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John Stancil, CPA


I can answer questions on personal income taxes, partnerships, and some corporate income taxes. I can deal with some state tax questions. Limited gift and estate tax questions. I am also familiar with ministerial and church tax reporting issues. I am Professor Emeritus at Florida Southern College. Sales taxes and property taxes are state and local issues so I am not likely be be able to give you an in depth answer on those types of taxes. I have maintained a CPA practice, specializing in tax, for over 35 years. I am a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, The Florida Insititute of CPA's, The NCPE Fellowship. In addition I am a Certified Mentor for SCORE. Visit my website at I also offer seminars and consultations to churches and clergy on their tax issues at Also visit my blog, I am listed on Tax Connections at Prepare and file your own taxes at


I hold a doctorate in Accounting, and am a CPA. My certifications of CIA, CFM, and CMA are inactive. I passed all certification examinations on the first attempt, and received honorable mention for my scores on the CIA exam. I have operated a CPA firm for over 37 years and have taught accounting and tax at the college level for over 35 years.

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The CPA Journal, Florida CPA Today, Green Consumer, Green Business, Global Sustainability as a Business Imperative, Palmetto Review, NATP TaxPro Quarterly, Mustang Journal of Finance and Accounting.

DBA University of Memphis MBA University of Georgia BS in Accounting Mars Hill University

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