Tax Filing and Divorce
Divorcing couples might become confused about how to file their taxes if they are still working through their divorce. This is a common question that many couples have during the divorce process and often just another issue to face while divorcing. When considering your tax filing talk it over with your spouse. Finances are a sensitive, yet important, topic during a divorce. If you are unsure about whether this could work in your case, it would probably be better to file your taxes separately.
If a couple is separated, but still legally married, they can choose to file their taxes jointly. As long as a couple is not yet officially divorced by December 31st, filing jointly remains an option. However, if the divorce is finalized before December 31st, both partners must file as either “single” or “head of household.”
Filing Taxes Jointly During a Divorce
There are pros and cons to filing taxes jointly. The most obvious advantage to filing jointly is the lower amount of money paid in taxes by married couples. That aside, a challenge that filing jointly poses is that both spouses are responsible for any money owed. This could potentially become a point of contention in a non-amicable divorce. Some relief is available through the IRS for cases like this. Talk to your lawyer or attorney to know your rights if filing taxes becomes an issue in your divorce.
Opting to File Taxes Separately from Your Spouse
Prior to the divorce being finalized, couples may file separately. They may each file as “married filing separately” or “head of household.” To file for head of household, a few stipulations must be met:
- The spouse filing as head of household must have paid more than half of the household expenses that year. That means rent, food consumed, taxes, mortgage, and utilities.
- The head of household’s home must have been the primary home of the couple’s child or children for more than half of the year.
- The couple did not live together for more than half the year.
The benefits of filing as head of household are the privilege of claiming a larger standard deduction than those not filing as head of household and being taxed at a lower rate. Taxpayers who file as head of household also have access to a wider range of tax brackets than those who don’t file as head of household.
Unsure How to File Taxes During Your NJ Divorce? Call Today.
If you are confused about filing your taxes during the divorce process or need advice about how to proceed, call the experienced divorce attorneys at Villani & DeLuca at (732) 965-3350 for a free legal consultation. Villani & DeLuca lawyers have practiced family law in Monmouth and Ocean Counties since 1996. Their professional network includes financial experts who can answer any tax and other monetary questions you might have.