Even though your divorce may be taking quite some time to finalize, you may need to file your income taxes before it officially happens. Your relationship may be faltering, but you are still obligated to file your tax returns with a married filing status. Thankfully, you can file your taxes as a married couple, but still file separately.
Your filing status will be determined by your legal marriage status at the end of the tax year. If your divorce was finalized on December 31st, you could file as single for income tax purposes for the entire year. For divorces not finalized by the time the ball drops in Times Square, you will need to use a married status for that tax year.
Married But Filing Separately
If you are still married, but decide to file separately, you lose some of the benefits that you would receive if you were to file jointly. This includes things such as earned income credits. If you do not have any dependents, and are married as of the end of the tax year, your only options are to file jointly as married, or separately as married.
Head of the Household
You can use the head of the household filing status when filing separately, but you must be living away from your wife for over six months, and have a child that is your dependent that has lived with you exclusively for six months as well. It's also required that you have contributed to more than half of the household financial support.
Keep in mind that the six month requirement for living separately and living with your child doesn't need to coincide. As long as you have lived with your child for more than 6 months, you can claim that they are your dependent and the head of the household.
Head of the household filing status will make you eligible to receive earned income credits and child tax credits. Those filing as the head of the household will not list their spouse on their tax return.
Making sure that you are properly filing your taxes during a divorce is crucial. If you and your spouse have conflicting tax returns, it can lead to an audit and paying interest on money that you still owe. Don't make the mistake of filing incorrectly without knowing if you are entitled to the proper filing status.
For more questions about how to file taxes during your divorce, reach out to your divorce attorney. Contact a business, such as Eschbacher Law, for more information.Share
16 February 2016
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