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How to file your taxes after a divorce

New York couples who are undergoing a divorce have a lot on their minds. One particular area they may not be considering is the tax consequences of their divorce. It’s necessary to let each spouse understand any tax consequences that are a result of property division and other aspects of their divorce.

Do you file jointly or separately?

Tax considerations and divorce can involve fraught and complicated issues. When it comes to filing your tax returns for the year, the first question you may have is whether or not you’re supposed to file jointly or separately. The reality is that it depends on when your divorce became official.

If your divorce was official on or before December 31st of the tax year, then you are unable to file a joint tax return. You’ll need to file a single tax return. In the event that your divorce became finalized after the final day of the tax year, you have options. Since the IRS will still recognize you as a married couple for the tax year, you’re eligible to file a joint tax return, or you can opt for filing a married separate tax return.

What are the benefits of filing jointly?

One of the major benefits of filing jointly on your tax returns is that there is a higher standard deduction. For the year 2020, the standard deduction for a single filer was $12,400. On the other hand, a married person filing jointly for the same year may have a standard deduction of $24,800. If you don’t commonly use itemized deductions on your tax returns, then you may want to consider filing jointly so that you can get the higher standard tax deduction.

After going through a divorce, you still may have some remaining questions about particular aspects of your life, such as your taxes. As you’ve learned, the law specifies how you can and cannot file according to your divorce date. If you’re still confused on this topic, it’s advisable to speak to an attorney to ensure that you will be filing your taxes with the correct status.