Filing Taxes During Your Divorce

Friday, November 15th, 2019, 9:01 am

If you’re getting divorced and tax time rolls around, you may wonder exactly how you should file. Do you file jointly as a married couple, or do you file individual returns? What are the legal requirements at this point in your life, and what benefits come with filing each different way?

You’re Married Until the Divorce Is Finalized

One thing to keep in mind is that in the eyes of the IRS, you’re a married couple up until the point a judge officially grants your divorce. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been separated or aren’t living together. Any type of temporary court order regarding custody of children, alimony, or child support payments have no effect on this, either. In fact, even if your divorce is officially granted before April 15, you can still file as married for the previous year as long as you were legally married as of December 31.

It’s Often Beneficial to File as Married

In many cases, filing as a married couple increases the amount of tax deductions you can take, so it’s often best to file as such so you don’t have to pay more in taxes. However, every case is different, and depending on your finances, it may be better to file separately. This is one area where you want to talk to a CPA or other financial expert.

You will also need to come to an agreement with your spouse. You shouldn’t file jointly unless you both agree to because you both have to sign the tax return. It does mean you’re both liable for paying any owed taxes, penalties, and interest. You would both need to agree on how to split any refund, too.

How Do You File Individually?

If you’re not going to file jointly, you either file as a head of household or as married filing separately. If you file as head of household, you can claim the standard deduction plus additional credits such as the earned income credit. However, you do have to show that you paid at least 50% of the costs necessary to maintain your home during the previous year and that your spouse didn’t live with you for at least six months of that year. You also have to show that you had a child living with you for at least six months and that you can claim that child as a dependent.

Need to know more about filing taxes during your divorce or about the divorce process in general? Contact the FK Law Group today.

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Category: Divorce Law


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