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Understanding Your Tax Filing Status After an Illinois Divorce

 Posted on February 16,2021 in Illinois Divorce

St. Charles family law attorney divorce

As the 2021 tax filing deadline approaches, you may have questions about how your recent divorce will affect the filing process. The financial aspects of divorce can have a variety of tax implications, one of which is the filing status you will use when completing your tax return. Depending on the situation, you may have options when it comes to your filing status, which in turn can significantly impact your tax obligations.

How to Determine Your Filing Status

If you have recently begun or completed the divorce process, your 2021 tax filing status may depend on several factors, including the date of your divorce and the terms of the resolution. In most cases, your filing status will be one of the following:

  • Married filing jointly - It may seem strange to file as married when your marriage is ending or has recently ended. However, your filing status for 2021 depends on your marital status as of December 31, 2020, so if you were still legally married at that time, you have the option to file jointly. If you and your spouse are able to do so, there may be significant benefits, including the larger standard deduction for married couples.

  • Married filing separately - Even if you are still legally married, or you were as of December 31, you have the option to file your tax return separately from your spouse. While there is a smaller standard deduction when filing separately, you may find that you owe fewer taxes when filing this way. Additionally, filing separately means that you only have to take responsibility for yourself, and this can help you prepare for a financial future independently of your spouse.

  • Single - If you were already divorced as of December 31, you can no longer file as married either separately or jointly. If you have no qualifying dependents, this means you will likely file as single, meaning that you can claim the same standard deduction as a married person filing separately.

  • Head of household - You may also be able to file as head of household if you are single and your marriage ended before December 31. In order to do so, you need to have a qualifying dependent, often a child, and have paid more than half of the upkeep costs of your home for the past year. However, it is important to keep in mind that after a divorce, typically only the parent with the majority of the parenting time can claim a child as a dependent for tax purposes. The standard deduction for a person filing as head of household is higher than for a single person but lower than that for a married couple filing jointly.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney

At Weiler & Associates, Inc., we can help you understand the effects your divorce will have on your tax situation, and connect you with tax professionals who can advise you on how to correctly file your taxes after your divorce. If you need legal advice or answers to your questions, call our qualified Kane County divorce lawyers at 630-331-9110 today to schedule a private consultation. We are committed to protecting your rights


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