Who is Responsible for Filing Income Taxes after a Divorce?

When your divorce is final, you will be able to file your income taxes in the spring as a single person, or perhaps head of household.  Because the laws can be very confusing surrounding divorces, you may want to hire a tax specialist to file your taxes the first year after your divorce.

Both of you will have to file your own taxes, but if you were married the majority of the year for which you are filing, it may be beneficial for each of you to file as “married filing jointly” one last time.  Again, the best course of action would be to discuss your situation with a tax attorney.  If you do decide to file jointly, make sure that how to split the refund or the liability is clearly written in an agreement.


Even after your divorce, you are both responsible for any mistakes that were on your tax returns for the years you were married.  It doesn’t matter if your spouse was the one who did the paperwork every year.  If you owe the IRS money, you both will be held responsible for the taxes due and any interest or penalties the IRS deems necessary.

Any cash settlement you received as part of your divorce could have an effect on your tax liability.  Alimony that you paid or received is another factor that you need to consider and be aware of.  Remember that both of you cannot claim your children as dependents (who can claim the children should have been addressed in your divorce decree) but it is possible that you could use the children for the earned income credit.

This is why it is so important to consider hiring a tax specialist to help you.  Filing tax returns can be confusing in the best of circumstances, but with the new information that being divorced adds, it can be nearly impossible to figure out.  You need an expert to help you work through the details of income taxes after a divorce.

If you are currently involved in a divorce and require legal guidance, before you spend thousands of dollars in legal fees, check out our free 7-Day “Divorce 101” course.  Sign up below and you’ll immediately start receiving tips and guidance you can use to minimize the pain and time required to get through the divorce process.

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