Couples getting a divorce are often so fixated on custody agreements, dividing assets, and obtaining a fair settlement that they often forget about other obligations. Filing taxes is one obligation that no adult looks forward to, but it is necessary if you have worked during the year. A couple that is in the middle of a divorce may not know the best way to file taxes, but it is important to be aware of what tax status to use, what deductions can be claimed, and the best way to handle filing taxes in the middle of a divorce.
Use a Tax Professional
Most married couples file jointly in order to take advantage of all tax credits that are available to them. Though it might be uncomfortable, you and your spouse can still file a joint tax return during a divorce. If you and your spouse are unwilling to sit down together to complete taxes on your own, consider using a tax professional. An accountant or other tax professional may be able to prepare your taxes without you and your spouse needing to meet. If you and your spouse are eligible for any refunds, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can deposit the amount into two different accounts allowing you to divide the amount evenly with limited interaction.
During a contentious divorce, some couples do not want to share financial information, meaning filing jointly in any form is impossible. The alternative is for each spouse to file taxes separately. If you are still legally married, the status ‘married filing separately’ can be used to file your taxes without having to work with or otherwise interact with your spouse. When filing separately, be prepared to lose tax credits such as earned income credits, child credits, adoption credits, and education benefits. Also, if your spouse uses itemized deductions you may not be able to claim the standard deduction.
File Early if You are a Head of Household
If you are still legally married with minor children and your spouse did not live in your household for six months or longer, then consider filing as Head of Household. Remember, the status can only be used if your child lived with you and you paid over half the costs of maintaining your household. The child you claim must be either a minor or a full-time student under the age of 24 and you must meet the custodial parent status according to IRS guidelines. When taking advantage of this status it is a good idea of file your taxes early especially if you have reason to believe your spouse may attempt to claim your children even though they are not the custodial parent.
Talk to Your Attorney
No person going through a stressful divorce wants to run the risk of having a tax problem caused by incorrect filing during an ongoing divorce. Prior to filing taxes, discuss your concerns with your divorce attorney and get advice regarding tax issues that occur during divorce cases. The attorneys at Lawrence Law Office understand the importance of maintaining proper records and filing taxes correctly annually even when a divorce is in progress. Contact our Columbus office today to schedule a consultation so that we can give you the legal advice you deserve.