After a divorce, formerly married persons must adjust to single life. For some, the process could involve embracing less stressful responsibilities during their married days. Tax season might bring several new responsibilities that require careful attention. The post-divorce process of filing federal and California tax returns could be overwhelming, but anyone required to file must do so.
Post-divorce tax filings
Married couples often file a joint return, and those newly divorced may opt to file as a single person or head of household. However, the now-single filer might have previously left joint return responsibilities to an ex-spouse. Not knowing how to file a return adds stress to the process, especially if the filer owes money. Hiring a skilled tax professional could decrease some worries, as a CPA may help a client put together a complete return.
Clients must do their part. Keeping accurate W-2 and 1099 forms provides the accountant with vital information. Good record keeping helps with the cause, and the same is true with not waiting until the last minute. Perhaps starting the tax filing process several months earlier works best.
That said, filing an extension could be an option. The IRS and the California Franchise Tax Board offer extensions to file with little trouble.
Other concerns arise
A person is not single until receiving a final divorce decree. If the divorce process drags past the tax filing deadline, opting for married filing separately might be necessary. Be mindful that this filing status could affect an overall tax obligation. For example, anyone choosing married filing separately cannot take a health care subsidy under the exchange.
Reading about basic tax filing requirements could help the filer. Even a cursory understanding of rules, requirements, and options may reduce some confusion.