If you are getting divorced, the way that you file your taxes is going to change. First, we want to take a look at your filing status, which determines the following:
- Whether you must file a tax return
- Your standard deduction
- The correct tax amount
Your filing status will determine if you can claim certain deductions and credits. Your "filing status" will depend upon your marital status on Dec. 31 of the tax year. So, will you be single or married on Dec. 31? That is the question.
If you are officially divorced by Dec. 31, meaning you are officially "single" for IRS purposes, then your filing status is single. Or, if you meet certain requirements it may be head of household.
On the other hand, you are considered married for the whole year if you have separated but have yet to obtain a final divorce decree by Dec. 31 of the tax year.
For Divorced Taxpayers
Let's say that you and your spouse are divorced by Dec. 31. In that case, you are both responsible for any tax, interest and penalties due on your joint return for the tax year ending before your divorce.
Unfortunately, this responsibility still applies, even if your divorce decree says that your ex-husband or wife is responsible for the debt due on any previously filed joint tax returns.
Are you an injured spouse?
Please note that you may be considered an "injured spouse" if you file a joint return with your spouse and all or a portion of your share of a tax refund is expected to be applied to your spouse's past-due debts, such as child support for children from a previous marriage, student loan debt, state income tax, or federal tax, etc.