How are you going to file your taxes. Determine the best way financially to do this. Normally filing a Married Joint Return will result in the lowest taxes. Do not look at a joint return as any kind of “attachment” to your spouse. This is strictly a financial situation. You qualify for the Married Filing Jointly status if you are not yet divorced. You do not qualify for this status in the tax year you were divorced.
You may claim a child that does not live with you only if it is stated in your divorce or separation agreement or if mutually agreed upon. This does not apply if you and your spouse are filing a Married Joint Return (see above).
Under certain circumstances, the amount of your legal and accounting fees paid which can be attributed to maintaining or preserving income (not child support) may be tax deductible.
If you either pay or receive alimony/maintenance there are tax ramifications. Alimony/maintenance (not child support) is taxable to the recipient and deductible for the payer. Occasionally a dispute will arise as to how much alimony was paid/received. Sometime the IRS will question the alimony amounts. For that reason it is very important to keep good records. If you fail to keep adequate records you may lose the alimony tax deduction.
If you pay alimony you should keep the following records for at least three years:
Original checks. Be sure to show on each check the month the payment represents.
A list that shows the date, check number, amount and address where payment was sent.
If you give cash obtain and retain a receipt signed by both the payer and the recipient.
If you receive alimony you should keep the following for at least three years:
- A photocopy of the check or money order received.
- A list that shows the date, check number, amount of payment, bank account the funds are drawn on, account number against which the check is drawn on.
- A copy signed receipt with signatures of both payer and recipient for any cash payment received.