11th Oct 2014

Tax Filing Status

Your marital tax status is based on your marital status as of the last day of the year. If your divorce was final prior to the end of the year, then you are unmarried for that year according to the IRS. This would also apply to the qualifications for filing as head of household.

Liability on Joint Return

You may request relief from liability for tax, plus related penalties and interests for which you believe that your spouse (or former spouse) should be liable. In some cases, a spouse may be relieved of the tax, interest, and penalties on a joint return. You can ask for relief no matter how small the liability. There are three types of relief available:

Innocent spouse relief.

Separation of liability, which applies to joint filers who are divorced, widowed, legally separated, or who have not lived together for the 12 months ending on the date election of this relief is filed.

Equitable relief

See IRS Publications 504 and 971 for more information. However, be aware that by law, the IRS must contact your spouse or former spouse. There are no exceptions, even for victims of spousal abuse or domestic violence.

Dependency Exemptions

In general, the dependency exemption for children of divorced taxpayers will go to the parent who has custody of the child for the greater part of the calendar year.

Alimony and Spousal Support

In general, alimony and separate maintenance payments are income to the recipient and are deductible by the payer. Different rules apply to alimony that went into effect prior to 1985.

If you have specific questions about the tax implications of a divorce, you should speak to a licensed tax expert.

You should discuss your divorce options with a qualified divorce lawyer to protect your rights.


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