Divorce Status

Today TaxMama hears from Mike in Texas who wants to know. “If I were to file for a divorce on Oct 1, 2008, what will be my tax status on Jan 1, 2009?”

Dear Mike,

Does your wife know about your plans? Ah well, all good things must end someday.

Actually, we don’t care what your tax status is on January 1, 2009. What matters is your tax status at December 31, 2008.

Typically, divorces tend to take more than 3 months to finalize. So, at 12/31/2008, for your 2008 tax return, you will still be married. Naturally, if your divorce was somehow finalized by then, you would file as single.

If you want to file a separate tax return, you will need to file as married filing separately.

Frankly, if you and your about-to-be-ex are getting along well, and each of you has a job with withholding, rather than a business, you might be better off filing your last tax return jointly.

But if there is too much stress, or a balance due – file separately. It may cost more at the moment; but it’s cheaper in the long run.

For more information, read IRS Publication 504 – Divorced or Separated Individuals.

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p504/index.html They wrote it just for you!

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about divorce issues and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At TaxMama.com

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