If you are in the middle of a divorce and it is not finalized by December 31st, then you can still file a joint tax return. You are still considered “married” by the IRS if your Judgment of Divorce is not signed by December 31st. So, in some situations, all your divorce papers could be filed, prior to December 31st, but, if the Court (Judge) has not signed them, by the end of the year, you are still legally married.
In most situations, by filing a joint tax return, you will pay less in taxes than if you filed a separate tax return. Yet, there are some reasons why you might want to file a separate tax return, even if you are still legally married. As one example, if you believe your spouse is committing tax fraud, then it probably would be wise to file a separate tax return.
You always have the option to file a separate tax return during the period that you are still married. However, as stated above, you most likely will have to pay more in taxes compared to if you filed a joint tax return. This is because some tax deductions, credits, and other benefits are not available or are limited when you file separately.
So, in general terms, most likely you should file a joint tax return until your divorce is finalized. However, you should always consult with an accountant or tax attorney, before deciding whether or not to file a joint tax return or a separate tax return.
As with all areas of divorce, David Badanes explains the different tax consequences that occur in a divorce. If you are thinking of getting divorced, call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702 or contact us online.