Tax season is here and you will need to choose a filing status when submitting your 2023 income tax return.
If you are married, this is relatively easy. You either choose married filing jointly or married filing separately. But if you divorced in 2022 or 2023, your tax filing status could be impacted.
If you divorced was finalized in 2022
If your divorce was finalized by December 31, 2022, you can file as a single individual or possibly as head of household.
If you are separated or divorced, you can file as head and household if:
- You did not reside with your spouse for the last six months of 2022.
- You paid over 50% of the costs of homeownership for all of 2022.
- Your home was your primary residence of your child for more than 50% of 2022.
Note that only you or your child’s other parent can file as head of household based on the child you share together, not both of you.
If your divorce was not finalized in 2022
Even if you filed for divorce earlier in 2022, if your divorce was not finalized by December 31, 2022, you cannot file as a single individual. This is because the Internal Revenue Service considers you to have been married for the entire 2022 tax year.
Your choices are to file married filing jointly or married filing separately. However, if you qualify you may be able to file as head of household.
When you file married filing jointly, you combine your income with that of your spouse. This could lead to more tax breaks.
Filing married filing separately can increase your tax rate and you may not qualify for as many tax breaks as you would if you filed jointly. Note that if you and your spouse file married filing separately, either both of you must take the standard deduction or both of you must itemize your deductions. It cannot be either/or.
The timing of your divorce matters
The timing of your divorce matters when it comes to filing your 2023 income tax return. Whether or not your divorce was finalized by January 31, 2022, will determine your choices for your filing status, which could impact what tax breaks you are entitled to. These are only some considerations to keep in mind if you are filing for divorce.