Divorce and Taxes

If your marriage has recently come to an end, this will affect how you file your federal and state taxes. Your filing status will depend on whether you are already legally divorced, in the process of divorce, legally separated, or have had a marriage annulled at the time of filing.

- If your divorce was finalized before the year end, then you are eligible to file as a single person -- and if you have a qualifying dependent, you can use the Head of Household filing status. Once you are divorced, you may not file as married unless you re-married the same year and want to file jointly with your new spouse.

- Couples who are in the process of getting divorced at the end of the tax year are generally still considered to be married for tax purposes. If this is your situation, you may choose to file jointly or separately. You may also qualify to file as Head of Household in this situation, if you did not live with your spouse for at least the last 6 months of last year, and you have a qualifying dependent in your household.

- If you are legally separated -- under either a Separate Maintenance Decree or a Decree of Legal Separation -- you can file using the Single status. Again, if you have a qualifying dependent, you may use Head of Household.

- If your marriage was annulled by a state court, then you are officially considered unmarried for tax purposes. You will, though, also have to file amended returns for each of the open tax years during which you were married.