In 2008, I went through a divorce, and among the many issues one deals with when ending a marriage – new apartment, finances, lawyers, court approvals, and so much more – but the one we rarely hear about is how divorce can affect your tax return. In 2009, I suddenly found myself realizing I had no idea how to file taxes. Was I married? My paycheck reflected being married for much of the previous year. The answer is “no.”
Divorce and Taxes Fact #1: If you are divorced on December 31st, you are divorced in the eyes of the government when it comes to taxes for the entire year.
This is just one of the many facts about divorce I didn’t know, and many women around the world don’t, either. One of my new favorite sites is solving that problem for us – Go Girl Finance helps women gain confidence in dealing with money, and recently published “Divorce and Taxes: What Women Need to Know About Filing Taxes After Divorce.“
Here’s one of Go Girl Finance’s incredible tax and divorce insights, namely, you can be held liable for what he does!
What happens if we file jointly, and there’s an overpayment (or underpayment) of taxes?
If there is an overpayment of tax, then your attorney should seek to have allocated to you some portion of the overpayment, or at least confirm in writing it’s a marital asset to be considered in the settlement or at trial.
If there’s an underpayment–because, say, your husband takes aggressive tax positions or is in a cash business and doesn’t accurately record his income–you may not want to join in the joint returns since you can be held liable if the IRS comes after the parties for underpayment of tax.
If you’re going through a divorce or have any friends who are or have recently, take the time to read this article and pass it along. Divorce is hard enough without being gouged in your taxes!