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Newly Single? Watch for These Tax Filing Mistakes

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2020 | Divorce

It took months, but you and your ex have finally filed your divorce papers. You have your own place and you are ready to put this stress behind you and move forward. One final task remains, however — your taxes.

Newly divorced couples sometimes overlook the changes to their taxes. After years of filing together, you may not remember how to file as a single person. Understanding these changes can help you avoid making costly mistakes during the next tax season.

These tax items change after divorce

The date of your divorce will determine which changes you have to make for your next filing. The following areas require new information:

  • Filing status: If you finalized your divorce before the end of the calendar year, lived separately for six months or filed a legal separation agreement, then you can file as “single” or “head of household” during the next tax season. If your divorce does not finalize until the next year, you can file as “married filing separately” or even still as married to secure a better tax deduction.
  • Declared dependents: A finalized divorce should have clearly defined custody orders for your children. The parent who earns more can receive larger tax breaks if they claim the children. If you are the non-custodial parent, you can deduct medical expenses and other costs of childcare.
  • Spousal/child support paid and received: New tax filings must include spousal support payments, both paid and received. Alimony payers can list alimony as a deduction, while the recipient records it as taxable income. Neither parent can deduct child support payments, but exes can work out a situation with their lawyers to secure higher refunds for childcare.
  • Divided or transferred property: Before finalizing their divorce, couples have an opportunity to pass property between them, tax-free. You might have full ownership of the house or a car after finishing negotiations, so you will have to file taxes accordingly. If you and your ex sold any property before finalizing the divorce, you must record sales and profits.

Questions? Find answers with a professional

If you have questions about how to file your taxes with all these new changes, a local attorney familiar with Florida’s divorce laws can help. A lawyer can also recommend an accountant to help with filing.