Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Eileen was a single mom and successful businesswoman. Last July, she married an adorable and charming man. He didn’t work but was helpful around the house and with her daughter. So the Mr. Mom thing was fine with her. Life was good. Eileen started to think about buying a home.
Oops. Suddenly, Eileen learned Mr. Mom owed his ex-spouse a ton of unpaid child support—and he hadn’t filed a tax return or paid taxes in years. If Eileen filed a joint tax return to get the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit, the IRS would grab the credit to cover his child support obligation—and his unpaid taxes.
Eileen’s situation isn’t unique. Many men (it’s mostly men, in my experience) have asked me to help them catch up with back tax returns because their fiancées would not set a wedding date until they were caught up. Those fiancées were brilliant. And lucky.
It’s only because they had the decidedly unromantic, somewhat awkward money and tax talk that the problem was revealed. Most people don’t have the money and tax talk until it’s too late. Don’t let that happen to you.
You should walk into a marriage with your eyes open, knowing about your partner’s financial problems—and being willing to work on them. It’s a betrayal when you learn, a year or two later, about the unpaid back taxes, the unpaid child support, the student loan defaults, or other loan defaults.
If you and your new spouse have already opened up joint credit accounts, his or her bad credit behavior could affect your credit history.
How can you avoid this situation?
Have the money and tax talk. You’ll need to ask point-blank about your intended’s income—and any parental obligations:
Sure, there needs to be trust between future spouses. But why rely solely on trust? Two simple tools will reveal all.
Tax Obligations? Find Out Here
You can find out about any tax obligations by signing, with your fiancé, an IRS Form 4506-T to request a transcript of your tax history. Check every box. Use two pages. Fill in each year for the last ten years. In box 5, enter your fiancé(e)’s address. The good news is that it’s free.
Credit History Questions? Find Out Here
Sit down at the computer with your fiancé. Both of you should pull up your Equifax 3-in-1 credit report so the other person can see it in full. Or use your free annual credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com for this purpose. While you’re at it, both of you should pull a copy of your credit score. The Equifax credit score will cost you around $8 at AnnualCreditReport.com.
If the idea of discussing money and past financial arrangements seems overwhelming, it should be a red flag. If your relationship can’t survive this process, how is it going to survive past your wedding day?
What’s the strangest thing your fiancé (or fiancée) told you about his or her past financial life? When you had the money and tax talk, did anything you found out surprise you?
Eva Rosenberg, EA is the publisher of TaxMama.com, where your tax questions are answered. Eva is the author of several books and ebooks, including Small Business Taxes Made Easy. Eva teaches a tax pro course at IRSExams.com.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.