Couples who said their "I do's" in 2010 may still be reminiscing about their honeymoon or writing thank you notes, but with the 2011 tax season underway, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service is offering the new "Mr. & Mrs." some essential tips about their new tax filing status.

"Newlyweds and all married taxpayers have the choice of filing jointly or separately, and this filing status can change each year based on their circumstances," said Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. chief tax officer Mark Steber. "Generally speaking, using the 'married filing jointly' status will offer the lowest tax liability and the highest standard deduction, but it's important to understand the differences and to make an informed decision when filing."

Steber advises couples filing a joint return for the first time to keep the following in mind:

• Choosing the “married filing separately” status may be advantageous in some cases, such as when one of the filers has large deductions or expenses.  In these situations, filing separately may provide a better tax benefit to the couple.

• The Internal Revenue Service recognizes a couple's marital status on the last day of the year at 11:59 p.m. Even couples who wed right before midnight (11:59 p.m.) on Dec. 31, 2010, are considered legally married for the full 2010 tax year.

• Couples should note that certain credits, including the Child and Dependent Care Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit and certain education credits, are not available under the "married filing separately" status.

• Getting married often results in a new name. Newlyweds whose names changed should contact the Social Security Administration. Names listed should match all forms of identification and documents from employers, loan holders and investment accounts.

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