You’re hitched! Now what?
If you recently got married, you’ll need to bring your employer up to speed so that the appropriate changes can be made in the HR/payroll system. This includes any adjustments to your name, address, benefits, taxes, emergency contacts, and direct deposit.
Name and Address
Per Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules, the name on your W-2 and W-4 forms must match what’s on your Social Security card. Therefore, to prevent conflicting information, your employer may require a copy of your updated Social Security card that shows your new name. If you have not updated your Social Security card, your employer may keep using your old name until you do.
If applicable, provide your employer with your new address immediately, as having your current address on file is crucial to accurate recordkeeping.
Typically, employees cannot change their elections for group health insurance during the plan year; they must wait until open enrollment. However, marriage is considered a “qualifying life event,” which allows you to enroll or make changes to your coverage within 30 days of the event date.
During this special enrollment period, you can:
- cancel your group health coverage and enroll in your spouse’s plan, or
- keep – and enroll your spouse in – your group health plan.
If you or your spouse have flexible spending accounts, you can make adjustments to those as well during the special enrollment period.
You may also want to change the beneficiaries on your retirement plan and life insurance policy. Note that if your employer offers an educational savings plan (such as a 529 college savings plan), you can name a stepchild resulting from the marriage as the plan beneficiary.
You might need to update your federal and state/local tax withholding forms.
For example, if you’ll be filing a joint return with your spouse, check the “Married” box on your Form W-4. If you’ll be filing a separate return, select the “Married, but withhold at higher Single rate” box. You might also need to complete the Personal Allowances section, and the Deductions, Adjustments, and Additional Income Worksheet.
Consider using the IRS withholding calculator, which will help you ensure the right amount of federal income tax comes out of your wages.
Now that you’re married, you may prefer to have your spouse and other related family members as your emergency contacts. Make sure the information you provide is accurate and complete so that your employer can promptly reach the person as needed.
If your direct deposit information has changed, submit an updated direct deposit form with the relevant account and routing numbers to your payroll department. For example, you may choose to have a portion of your wages go into you and your spouse’s new joint account and the rest put into your current direct deposit account.
- If you won’t be able to work as many hours, or will need to work more hours, let your manager or supervisor know right away, so arrangements can be made in advance.
- Except in rehire or reverification cases, name changes do not have to be reported on Form I-9. However, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recommends that employers state legal name changes in Section 3 of the I-9 form, even if the situation is not a rehire or reverification.
The procedures and requirements for changes affecting newlyweds may vary by employer. For example, you may need to submit a copy of your marriage certificate to make health coverage changes during the special enrollment period. Also, your employer may permit you to make all or most changes via a self-service portal, like My Payentry.