When it comes to filing taxes during a divorce year, it's important to know what your choices are when it comes to your status. It can get complicated, and if your ex spouse isn't working with you to get the taxes done correctly, you may need to work with an accountant to ensure your taxes are done correctly. If you and your spouse haven't lived together for at least six months, but are still married, your filing status might be married filing single or single. Regardless of how you file, both parties are still liable for joint income taxes accrued during the time you were married, even when you have a divorce decree that states otherwise.
Married Filing Separately
Two people who are married can file married filing separately. In general, this means that the overall tax burden for the couple will be higher. What it also means is that each party is only responsible for the tax burden from their own income, minus any deductions. This is a great way for couples to maintain financial independence from one another, even if it means paying slightly higher taxes. A couple in the middle of a divorce can file using this status, but it's important to remember that previous tax liabilities are still the responsibility of both parties.
In most cases, you can be considered unmarried once you meet a set of criteria. When you file a separate return, file married filing separately, or file as Head of Household, you are considered unmarried. In addition, your spouse had to be out of the home for the previous six months, and you must have paid for at least half of the upkeep of your residence. Your home must also be the main home where one of your children, step children or foster children lived for at least half the year, and you must be the person who can claim an exemption for the child.
Head of Household
Head of household status provides excellent tax breaks for low income and middle income individuals who are maintaining a home on their own. When you file as head of household, your standard deduction is higher than if you simply filed as a single person. You may also be able to file for earned income credits.
Filing your taxes during a divorce can be a complicated process. It's important to gather together all of your financial paperwork, and work with an accountant (like those at Vlasac John M & Co) who has handled the taxes of people going through a divorce in the past.