The only thing more frustrating than having to file your taxes is having to file an abnormally complicated tax return. Out of all the things we can encounter in life that complicate our taxes, divorce might just be the most common. If you have recently been divorced, or are going through the process right now, there are a couple things you might have to do differently to properly file your taxes.
Some of the ways divorce can affect your taxes include:
- Filing status: You won’t be “married filing jointly” anymore and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) needs to know that you are now “Single” or “Head of Household.” When did you officially become “Single” again according to them? December 31st is the cut-off day. If your divorce was finalized on or before December 31st, you can file as “Single” for that tax year. If you are still going through a divorce or only had it finalized in January, the IRS still considers you married for that tax year.
- Dependents: If you have any children with your ex-spouse, only one of you can claim them as “Dependents” now that you are divorced. Whoever spends the majority of their time with the children gets the right to claim them, according to the IRS. However, if this goes against your and your ex’s wishes, an IRS Form 8332 can be used to allow the other parent to claim them as dependents, even if they only see the kids once a month.
- Alimony: Under certain conditions, paying or receiving alimony can be reflected and reported in your tax return statement to the IRS. Much of this is entirely based on the specifics of your divorce and both of your incomes. You should check with a professional tax agent or family law attorney to learn what needs to be done. Keep in mind that child support is not viewed as a deductible by the IRS.
- Benefit loss: Of course, if you are no longer married, you will lose all of the tax cuts and breaks that most married couples traditionally enjoy. If you are committed to dissolving your marriage, you should not allow the possibility of paying more in taxes each year stop you from pursuing what you think is the right choice, though.
At Calvo & Calvo, Attorneys at Law, our Fort Myers divorce lawyers understand that even the most amicable, collaborative or uncontested divorce can feel endlessly stressful. Getting tied up in tax concerns is certainly no help at all. If you need some help with handling and finalizing your divorce, which should hopefully make your tax season simpler, call us at (800) 614-5138 to get started with an initial consultation.