Many recently divorced couples wonder if they can file a joint tax return one last time. For those who have children, they usually question if both of them can claim their kids as dependents.
If the date of your divorce was after the last day of the year, then you could file a joint return. Another option that you have for your filing status in this situation is “married, filing separately.” You’ll need to discuss this with your former spouse to prevent the IRS from rejecting one of your returns.
By filing jointly, you and your former spouse could have a lower tax bill. Married couples who file jointly get a higher standard deduction. Although your divorce is final now, you were legally married during the tax year.
Head of household
An option for people who were either single, separated or divorced during the tax year is to file as the head of household. Only one person from a formerly married couple can file as the head of household.
There are a few other conditions for filing as the head of household. You must have had a qualifying dependent live with you for over six months of the year and paid more than half of the home’s expenses. Utilities, food, home insurance, repairs and real estate tax count as home expenses.
The person who pays alimony could deduct their payments. If you receive alimony, you must report the income on Form 1040. Child support payments aren’t deductible for the one who pays.
You don’t necessarily need to file as a single after your divorce. In some situations, you could file jointly or as the head of household. You may want to check the tax law and consult with your former spouse about how you two will want to file your taxes.