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Divorce, Separation, and Taxes

Divorce, Separation, and Taxes

Divorced or Separated Taxes

Divorced or Separated Taxes

A life event such as separation or divorce has many tax implications. Let efile.com help you with the tax part. Once you answer a few simple tax questions, we will help you prepare and efile your tax return using the correct tax forms for your situation.

A life event such as separation or divorce has many tax implications. Let efile.com help you with the tax part. Once you answer a few simple tax questions, we will help you prepare and efile your tax return using the correct tax forms for your situation.

Start Your Tax Return Now

Start Your Tax Return Now

If you want more information on how separation and divorce may affect your tax return, read the sections below: 

If you want more information on how separation and divorce may affect your tax return, read the sections below: 

Whether you’re separated or divorced affects your taxes in several ways including: 

Whether you’re separated or divorced affects your taxes in several ways including: 

A divorce or separation can impose many personal and financial changes. We at efile.com would like to resolve complicated tax questions for you. If you prepare and efile your taxes at efile.com you do not need to know all these details outlined here, but rather only answer a few simple online yes or no questions and we will do the rest for you. You can be assured that based on your answers your income tax return will be done in your best interest.

A divorce or separation can impose many personal and financial changes. We at efile.com would like to resolve complicated tax questions for you. If you prepare and efile your taxes at efile.com you do not need to know all these details outlined here, but rather only answer a few simple online yes or no questions and we will do the rest for you. You can be assured that based on your answers your income tax return will be done in your best interest.

Start Your Tax Return Now

Start Your Tax Return Now

In order to determine whether you can deduct (as Alimony Payer) or must report (as Alimony Payee or Recipient) alimony payments, the year in which your divorce or separation agreement was finalized is the deciding factor.

In order to determine whether you can deduct (as Alimony Payer) or must report (as Alimony Payee or Recipient) alimony payments, the year in which your divorce or separation agreement was finalized is the deciding factor.

In summary, if your divorce or separation agreement was finalized during 2018 or before, alimony payments – paid or received – are permanently grandfathered into the alimony tax rules before the tax changes of 2018. If you prepare and efile your taxes on efile.com you don’t have to worry about any of this since the software will ask you very simple questions and guide you through the tax preparation. If you have any other questions, please contact tax support.

In summary, if your divorce or separation agreement was finalized during 2018 or before, alimony payments – paid or received – are permanently grandfathered into the alimony tax rules before the tax changes of 2018. If you prepare and efile your taxes on efile.com you don’t have to worry about any of this since the software will ask you very simple questions and guide you through the tax preparation. If you have any other questions, please contact tax support.

Consider the following situations based on various divorce or separation agreements: 

Consider the following situations based on various divorce or separation agreements: 

Please use this easy, free and interactive tool to find out which divorced or separated parent can claim a child on an income tax return: 

Please use this easy, free and interactive tool to find out which divorced or separated parent can claim a child on an income tax return: 

Start The DEPENDucator Tool

Start The DEPENDucator Tool

As a general rule, a child can only be claimed on one of the divorced/separated parents’ tax return (use the Dependucator Tool to find out if it’s you or not). You claim your child as a dependent on your tax return if the divorce decree or legal separation agreement names you as the custodial parent. Otherwise, the child is your dependent if they lived with you for a longer period of time during the year than with your former spouse. However, if both you and your former spouse claim the same dependent, the IRS will apply tie-breaker rules to determine which former spouse qualifies to claim the child. 

As a general rule, a child can only be claimed on one of the divorced/separated parents’ tax return (use the Dependucator Tool to find out if it’s you or not). You claim your child as a dependent on your tax return if the divorce decree or legal separation agreement names you as the custodial parent. Otherwise, the child is your dependent if they lived with you for a longer period of time during the year than with your former spouse. However, if both you and your former spouse claim the same dependent, the IRS will apply tie-breaker rules to determine which former spouse qualifies to claim the child. 

Starting with Tax Year 2018 (tax return due in April 2019) and ending with Tax Year 2025 (tax return due in April 2026), the dependency exemption for dependent children has been abolished. As of now, the dependency tax exemption will be reintroduced for Tax Year 2026.

Starting with Tax Year 2018 (tax return due in April 2019) and ending with Tax Year 2025 (tax return due in April 2026), the dependency exemption for dependent children has been abolished. As of now, the dependency tax exemption will be reintroduced for Tax Year 2026.

The dependency exemption effectively stops with Tax Year 2017 (e-file deadline is Oct. 15, 2018) but does apply for 2017 and previous Tax Years for taxpayers who are filing back taxes. 

The dependency exemption effectively stops with Tax Year 2017 (e-file deadline is Oct. 15, 2018) but does apply for 2017 and previous Tax Years for taxpayers who are filing back taxes. 

What is the dependency exemption? Only one parent can claim the dependency exemption. The parent who claims the dependency exemption is also entitled to the $1,000-per-Child Tax Credit for children under 17, assuming his or her income is not too high.   

What is the dependency exemption? Only one parent can claim the dependency exemption. The parent who claims the dependency exemption is also entitled to the $1,000-per-Child Tax Credit for children under 17, assuming his or her income is not too high.   

This is usually a straightforward decision if you have a divorce decree which names the custodial parent. If not, you are considered the custodial parent if your child lived with you for a longer period during the year than with your former spouse. Sometimes the noncustodial parent can claim the exemption if the custodial parent signs a waiver pledging that he or she won’t claim the child.

This is usually a straightforward decision if you have a divorce decree which names the custodial parent. If not, you are considered the custodial parent if your child lived with you for a longer period during the year than with your former spouse. Sometimes the noncustodial parent can claim the exemption if the custodial parent signs a waiver pledging that he or she won’t claim the child.

Sometimes, a parent will claim the dependency tax exemption when they are not entitled to it. If your former spouse files his or her tax return before you do, it is possible that he or she would be allowed the exemption, at least temporarily. Once the IRS looks at your return and they detect a duplicate Social Security Number (your child’s SSN) being claimed by another taxpayer, the situation changes. Find out what happens when two people claim the same dependent.

Sometimes, a parent will claim the dependency tax exemption when they are not entitled to it. If your former spouse files his or her tax return before you do, it is possible that he or she would be allowed the exemption, at least temporarily. Once the IRS looks at your return and they detect a duplicate Social Security Number (your child’s SSN) being claimed by another taxpayer, the situation changes. Find out what happens when two people claim the same dependent.

Here are additional, important income tax return considerations for divorced or separated parents.

Here are additional, important income tax return considerations for divorced or separated parents.

The free, easy-to-use and interactive tool will determine the correct tax return filing status for you as a divorced or separated individual and/or parent: 

The free, easy-to-use and interactive tool will determine the correct tax return filing status for you as a divorced or separated individual and/or parent: 

Start The STATucator Tool

Start The STATucator Tool

Simply answer several easy questions and the tool will present your filing status! If you are not yet officially divorced before the end of the year, you can still file a joint return with your spouse. You will lose the option to file a joint return when your divorce decree becomes final.

Simply answer several easy questions and the tool will present your filing status! If you are not yet officially divorced before the end of the year, you can still file a joint return with your spouse. You will lose the option to file a joint return when your divorce decree becomes final.

However, if you cannot file a joint return for the year, you can file as Head of Household (and get the benefit of a bigger standard deduction and more advantageous tax brackets) if you had a dependent living with you for more than half the year and you paid for more than half of the upkeep for your home. Otherwise, you may need to file as Single.

However, if you cannot file a joint return for the year, you can file as Head of Household (and get the benefit of a bigger standard deduction and more advantageous tax brackets) if you had a dependent living with you for more than half the year and you paid for more than half of the upkeep for your home. Otherwise, you may need to file as Single.

How will your divorce/separation affect your medical bills and expenses? If you continue to pay your child’s medical bills after a divorce or legal separation, you can include those costs in your medical expense deductions even if your ex-spouse has custody of the child and claims them as a dependent.

How will your divorce/separation affect your medical bills and expenses? If you continue to pay your child’s medical bills after a divorce or legal separation, you can include those costs in your medical expense deductions even if your ex-spouse has custody of the child and claims them as a dependent.

You can claim certain tax credits for being a divorced parent, such as the Child Tax Credit or an Education Tax Credit. If you do not claim the dependent, you cannot claim an education credit even if you pay any education bills. 

You can claim certain tax credits for being a divorced parent, such as the Child Tax Credit or an Education Tax Credit. If you do not claim the dependent, you cannot claim an education credit even if you pay any education bills. 

Even if your former spouse qualifies to claim your child as a dependent, you can still claim the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for work related expenses you incur to care for a child under age 13. Remember though, only the parent who claims the child as a dependent can claim the Child Tax Credit.

Even if your former spouse qualifies to claim your child as a dependent, you can still claim the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for work related expenses you incur to care for a child under age 13. Remember though, only the parent who claims the child as a dependent can claim the Child Tax Credit.

Sometimes a divorce settlement will transfer property from one spouse to another. If that happens, the beneficiary doesn’t pay tax on that transfer. It’s important to note that the property’s tax basis will also shift. For example, if you receive property from your former spouse in the divorce and you later sell it, you will pay capital gains tax on all the appreciation before as well as after the transfer. So you need to consider the tax basis as well as the value of the property when you are splitting up property in a divorce settlement.

Sometimes a divorce settlement will transfer property from one spouse to another. If that happens, the beneficiary doesn’t pay tax on that transfer. It’s important to note that the property’s tax basis will also shift. For example, if you receive property from your former spouse in the divorce and you later sell it, you will pay capital gains tax on all the appreciation before as well as after the transfer. So you need to consider the tax basis as well as the value of the property when you are splitting up property in a divorce settlement.

During a divorce, it is important to carefully handle your retirement savings. If you decide to give your 401(k) money to your former spouse, the IRS may consider that a taxable distribution and you will be taxed on it. In order to avoid this, you should arrange for a transfer under a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) which will allow your former spouse access to the 401(k) funds and you will not be stuck paying the tax.

During a divorce, it is important to carefully handle your retirement savings. If you decide to give your 401(k) money to your former spouse, the IRS may consider that a taxable distribution and you will be taxed on it. In order to avoid this, you should arrange for a transfer under a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) which will allow your former spouse access to the 401(k) funds and you will not be stuck paying the tax.

If you and your former spouse decide to sell your home when you get divorced, there may be capital gains tax impacts on you. Usually, you can avoid tax on the first $250,000 of gain on the sale of your primary home if you have lived in it for two out of the past five years of ownership. If you sell property after your divorce and if the two above provisions (own and live) have been met, you and your former spouse can each exclude up to $250,000 of gain on both of your returns. If the sale happens after the divorce, then you may qualify for reduced exclusion even if the two-year tests have not been met. Also, if you receive the house in your divorce settlement and then sell it some years later, you can exclude up to $250,000. The amount of time that your former spouse owned the house will be added to your period of ownership in the two year test.

If you and your former spouse decide to sell your home when you get divorced, there may be capital gains tax impacts on you. Usually, you can avoid tax on the first $250,000 of gain on the sale of your primary home if you have lived in it for two out of the past five years of ownership. If you sell property after your divorce and if the two above provisions (own and live) have been met, you and your former spouse can each exclude up to $250,000 of gain on both of your returns. If the sale happens after the divorce, then you may qualify for reduced exclusion even if the two-year tests have not been met. Also, if you receive the house in your divorce settlement and then sell it some years later, you can exclude up to $250,000. The amount of time that your former spouse owned the house will be added to your period of ownership in the two year test.

If you changed back to your previous last name as a result of a divorce or separation, you should notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) and report any changes made as soon as possible. When a tax return is efiled, the name must match both the SSA and IRS records. A name mismatch can result in a return that is rejected by the IRS when it is efiled. The return will then have to be paper filed which can result in a delayed refund. Learn how to change your name with the SSA and IRS

If you changed back to your previous last name as a result of a divorce or separation, you should notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) and report any changes made as soon as possible. When a tax return is efiled, the name must match both the SSA and IRS records. A name mismatch can result in a return that is rejected by the IRS when it is efiled. The return will then have to be paper filed which can result in a delayed refund. Learn how to change your name with the SSA and IRS

Research & References of Divorce, Separation, and Taxes|A&C Accounting And Tax Services
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