Author Topic: newly divorced, tax filing question  (Read 669 times)

luminajd

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newly divorced, tax filing question
« on: January 03, 2018, 05:09:10 PM »
I use TurboTax every year, but this year will be different as I am newly divorced.
We have 3 kids, decree says odd years I claim daughter RBF and NGF, even years he claims KDF and NGF (so NGF alternates). Do I need to do anything differently besides filing head of household (used to file married obviously) and just claim RBF and NGF instead of all 3?
Anything else I need to know?
Thanks

Rocketman

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Re: newly divorced, tax filing question
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2018, 05:59:27 PM »
You can claim head of household as long as:

Your divorce is final (unmarried or considered unmarried)
You paid more than half the cost of maintaining the household
At least one qualified dependents lived with you half the year

There are other qualifiers but those three tests are the main ones.

Rocketman

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Re: newly divorced, tax filing question
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2018, 06:06:44 PM »
I only answered half the question 😎

Assuming you qualify as head of household- thatís all you need to do - just tell the software. It will take care of the rest and use the correct tables

Yes just claim the one or two kids - depending on the year.


luminajd

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Re: newly divorced, tax filing question
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2018, 09:51:19 PM »
You can claim head of household as long as:

Your divorce is final (unmarried or considered unmarried)
You paid more than half the cost of maintaining the household
At least one qualified dependents lived with you half the year

There are other qualifiers but those three tests are the main ones.
I'm struggling with what I bolded. He moved out at the end of August and is living with his friend, paying none of his own household expenses for where he is staying.
I kept the house, pay household expenses, but do receive child support.
Prior to August, we were living to together, married, and had pooled income so we were both paying for bills.
Can I still claim head of household since starting at the end of August I maintain my household, even though I receive child support?
Thank you

elysianfields

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Re: newly divorced, tax filing question
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2018, 12:07:36 AM »
You can claim head of household as long as:

Your divorce is final (unmarried or considered unmarried)
You paid more than half the cost of maintaining the household
At least one qualified dependents lived with you half the year

There are other qualifiers but those three tests are the main ones.
I'm struggling with what I bolded. He moved out at the end of August and is living with his friend, paying none of his own household expenses for where he is staying.
I kept the house, pay household expenses, but do receive child support.
Prior to August, we were living to together, married, and had pooled income so we were both paying for bills.
Can I still claim head of household since starting at the end of August I maintain my household, even though I receive child support?
Thank you

Looking at https://www.irs.gov/publications/p17#en_US_2017_publink1000170792 Publication 17 for 2017, it seems to me that you don't qualify for 2017.  Under "Considered Unmarried", requirement #3 says:

Quote from: IRS Publication 17 for 2017
Your spouse didn't live in your home during the last 6 months of the tax year. Your spouse is considered to live in your home even if he or she is temporarily absent due to special circumstances. See Temporary absences under Qualifying Person, later.

Since your husband moved out at the end of August, you only lived apart during the last four months of the tax year.  Better luck in 2018!

MDM

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Re: newly divorced, tax filing question
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2018, 09:39:42 AM »
Looking at https://www.irs.gov/publications/p17#en_US_2017_publink1000170792 Publication 17 for 2017, it seems to me that you don't qualify for 2017.  Under "Considered Unmarried", requirement #3 says:

Quote from: IRS Publication 17 for 2017
Your spouse didn't live in your home during the last 6 months of the tax year. Your spouse is considered to live in your home even if he or she is temporarily absent due to special circumstances. See Temporary absences under Qualifying Person, later.

Since your husband moved out at the end of August, you only lived apart during the last four months of the tax year.  Better luck in 2018!
That is not correct.  In terms of married or not married for 2017, what matters is the status on Dec. 31. 2017.  See Marital Status in that same publication:

Quote
You are considered unmarried for the whole year if, on the last day of your tax year, you are either:
    Unmarried, or
    Legally separated from your spouse under a divorce or separate maintenance decree. State law governs whether you are married or legally separated under a divorce or separate maintenance decree.

elysianfields

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Re: newly divorced, tax filing question
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2018, 09:22:27 AM »
Looking at https://www.irs.gov/publications/p17#en_US_2017_publink1000170792 Publication 17 for 2017, it seems to me that you don't qualify for 2017.  Under "Considered Unmarried", requirement #3 says:

Quote from: IRS Publication 17 for 2017
Your spouse didn't live in your home during the last 6 months of the tax year. Your spouse is considered to live in your home even if he or she is temporarily absent due to special circumstances. See Temporary absences under Qualifying Person, later.

Since your husband moved out at the end of August, you only lived apart during the last four months of the tax year.  Better luck in 2018!
That is not correct.  In terms of married or not married for 2017, what matters is the status on Dec. 31. 2017.  See Marital Status in that same publication:

Quote
You are considered unmarried for the whole year if, on the last day of your tax year, you are either:
    Unmarried, or
    Legally separated from your spouse under a divorce or separate maintenance decree. State law governs whether you are married or legally separated under a divorce or separate maintenance decree.

Thanks for the response, MDM.  Maybe I misunderstood the OP - if the divorce is final, then she clearly qualifies.

If the divorce isn't final, then she'd have to qualify under all of the "Considered Unmarried" requirements, but she doesn't meet number 3.

Apologies to all if I misunderstood.

MDM

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Re: newly divorced, tax filing question
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2018, 09:28:41 AM »
Maybe I misunderstood the OP - if the divorce is final, then she clearly qualifies.
Unless it became final in the first few days of 2018, in which case your original post is correct. :)

DayLight

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Re: newly divorced, tax filing question
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2018, 07:13:52 AM »
From experience- include a copy of the divorce decree stating what kids you claim with your taxes, and send it in paper form.

Also, if either one of you uses the social security number of one of the kids you are not claiming as a deduction, (for example, for a child care deduction or college savings account), it will get rejected by e-filing if your ex files first. This doesn't mean you can't claim childcare expenses for a kid that you are not claiming for a deduction, but the computer system will automatically rejects it because the social security number of the kid already appears on another return. You have to send it by paper.

I think you can claim head of household if you were divorced in 2017 but I don't know for sure!

Cpa Cat

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Re: newly divorced, tax filing question
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2018, 07:59:11 AM »
From experience- include a copy of the divorce decree stating what kids you claim with your taxes, and send it in paper form.

Also, if either one of you uses the social security number of one of the kids you are not claiming as a deduction, (for example, for a child care deduction or college savings account), it will get rejected by e-filing if your ex files first. This doesn't mean you can't claim childcare expenses for a kid that you are not claiming for a deduction, but the computer system will automatically rejects it because the social security number of the kid already appears on another return. You have to send it by paper.

I think you can claim head of household if you were divorced in 2017 but I don't know for sure!

I disagree with this. Don't send a copy of your divorce decree or custody arrangement to the IRS unless they ask for it. E-file as normal.

I also disagree that you'll receive an E-file rejection for the above mentioned issues. You can get a dependent E-file rejection if someone accidentally claimed the dependent first - which is extremely common when people are using TurboTax or other self-preparer software and trying to use the mixed-use dependent credits mentioned by DayLight without actually claiming the exemption.

As for the question about half the household expenses for the children - you would want to consider the entire year.  But child support is actually money provided by the recipient of the support (as is governmental support).

Focus on the items that the IRS would ask for if they questioned your HoH status: a lease with your name on it, rent/mortgage payments in your name, grocery/utility/other household receipts, etc.  Can you produce proof you paid those things?

Edited to add: HoH can be confusing for divorced parents. But keep in mind the qualifier is: "You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a
home for the year." It doesn't ask where you got the money from. If someone hands you child support, you might use it for the home, or you might use it for school, or you might use it for a trip to Disney. The person paying the child support doesn't decide what you used it for. It got mixed in with your other money, and then you used your money to pay bills. If those bills included more than half the cost of keeping up the home, then that satisfies the HoH qualifier. The custodial parent can choose to release that exemption to the non-custodial parent via Form 8332, but they maintain the HoH status - the non custodial parent doesn't get to claim it.

Some examples of where you might not qualify:
1. Instead of paying you child support, the other parent keeps the mortgage in their name and pays it directly.
2. You live with your parents in their house, and they pay for their home.
3. You live with your boyfriend, and he pays for the home.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 08:27:48 AM by Cpa Cat »