Common tax questions for divorcing couples

Filing status, and dividing property are all matters to consider when timing and finalizing a divorce.
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 12:13 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 31, 2023 at 12:29 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - When the happily ever after ends, you still have to deal with taxes.

“Taxes are complicated to begin with, even without having to go through a divorce. But when you do, there are further complications that have to be considered,” said Christopher Kennedy, a divorce attorney. He says the first question divorcing couples have to answer is whether to file jointly or separately.

“Even if you’re divorced in January, you could still file jointly for that entire year,” Kennedy said. “More often than not, you want to do both calculations, filing jointly and filing separately, and deciding which will give you the best benefit as a couple because legally you’re still married.”

He said you’ll also need to consider what happens to a refund if you are owed one. “Typically, that’s community funds,” Kennedy said. “Any refunds are community and likewise any liabilities are community, so unless there are agreements between the parties, typically those would be split. Refunds would be split and tax owed would also be split.”

Once your split is official, there will also be questions about who will claim dependents if you have them. “If you have multiple children, sometimes people split them,” Kennedy said. “If they have just one, typically every other year or in some cases, one party has more of a financial benefit of claiming the child and the other party wouldn’t necessarily be able to capitalize on that. In some of those cases, the parties would agree that this parent would just claim the child.”

This year, taxes are due on Tuesday, April 18. According to the IRS, approximately 54 million refunds have already been processed this tax season. The average refund to date is $2,933.