Many folks are filled with dread at the mere thought of having to sit down, pull out their W-2s, and work their way through that 1040. For many people, tax season is always a headache and one they would prefer to avoid, if at all possible.
For parties who have recently separated or divorced, tax season can bring with it a host of other issues that must be addressed in order to complete their taxes and file same in a manner that is not going to get them audited. If you have recently divorced or separated, you should consult with your account to see how you may be impacted these issues.
Separation and divorce can affect many aspects of how a party files their taxes – from their filing status, to the deductions they can take, to even the income they have to include. This is also an area that draws a lot of investigation from the IRS. Anytime someone declares a dependent or attempts to take a deduction for payment of alimony, they are required to include the social security numbers of their dependents or the party to whom they are paying support. If those social security numbers appear as dependent deductions on another return or the person who is indicated as receiving alimony did not declare same as income, it is basically like waiving a flag to the IRS and shouting to them that you would simply love to be audited.
As such, we as family law attorneys spend a fair amount of time in the weeks leading up to April 15th addressing these issues with clients, trying to assure the parties are filing consistent returns and/or providing consistent information to the IRS. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to afford an attorney and a private accountant to help you with these decisions.
As it happens, I recently stumbled across the below article that I think does a good job at hitting on a couple of the major tax issues that come up in the context of divorce and separation. They require a little bit of thought prior to filing tax returns. Rather than reiterate, I will simply provide the link here and say that it touches upon how separation or divorce can affect your filing status, division of deductions, use of credit, etc. and anyone who has recently undergone a divorce or separation should take a quick peak just to be sure that they have these bases covered. Nothing in this article or the article linked below should be construed as tax or legal advice.
Good luck with the tax deadlines.