Filing your taxes after divorce or during marital separation can turn a regular tax-season headache into a migraine. The first step to take is deciding your filing status, which, determines your eligible deductions and effective tax rate. Your filing status depends on your marital status on the last day of the tax year (December 31) for which you are filing a return. If your divorce was finalized before that date, your options are to file as Head of Household or to file as Single.
In order to claim Head of Household filing status, a taxpayer must meet the following criteria:
In order to claim Single filing status, the taxpayer must meet the following criterion:
In order to claim Married Filing Jointly status, the following criteria must be met:
In order to claim Married Filing Separately status, the following criteria must be met:
There are many financial issues to consider during the divorce process. Though we recommend clients consult a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or accounting professional for tax planning advice, your filing status is an important topic to discuss when meeting with a divorce lawyer.