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Getting Divorced: Should You File Joint or Separate Tax Returns?

If you are getting divorce or recently divorced, one of the many questions you will have is, “Should I file my tax return separately or jointly?”

Most accountants will tell you to file a joint tax return as you will pay less taxes than if you both file a separate return.  If you and your soon-to-be-ex use the same accountant, you can have the accountant calculate your tax return by first using a joint tax return and then calculate your tax returns by using two separate returns. Your accountant can then explain the difference in taxes between the two alternatives.

There might be good reasons why you want to file two separate tax returns. If you believe your soon-to-be-ex is filing false or misleading information, then filing a separate tax return will protect you. Filing a separate tax return may also help you qualify for more financial aid for college or for more government programs.

However, if you are going to file a separate tax return, you might have to take into consideration the Court’s viewpoint on whether or not you can file separately.  Since, filing separately most likely will result in paying more taxes, a Court might view this as “wasteful”.  If you are unsure and want to file a separate return, you or your attorneys should request the Court’s permission to file a separate return.  In that application, you should be prepared to inform the Court on the monetary difference between filing a joint return and two separate returns.

If you have children and you are going to file two separate tax returns, you need to determine who is going to claim the children as an exemption (also known as a deduction).  Each exemption could be worth thousands of dollars.

Since each person’s financial situation is different, before making the decision on whether to file a separate or joint tax return, it is imperative that you talk to an accountant (or other tax professional) before filing your taxes.  You also need to inform your divorce attorney on what you want to do.

If you are seeking a divorce and have questions on your taxes, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our website at www.dbnylaw.com.

The Badanes Law Office main office is in Northport, Suffolk County and he has a satellite office in Uniondale, Nassau County.

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