Tax season is upon us and there are some important tax issues that people , in Arizona who are going through a divorce–and people who are already divorced–should consider.

For people currently divorcing in Arizona, a common question is whether you and your spouse must file a joint return.  The reality is that family courts do not have the jurisdiction to Order parties to file joint or separate returns.  You can file jointly or you can file separately–however there could be significant differences in the outcome based on how you file.  I would encourage anyone in the middle of a divorce to consult with a tax professional.  One other consideration is that while a court cannot Order how you file they can certainly Order the allocation of any refund or amount owed.  So while filing on your own may stick your spouse with a large amount owed to the IRS (with you getting a large refund), the court may certainly Order that you be responsible for half the debt and give your spouse half your refund.

For those who are already divorced, a common tax issue is who will claim the children for Income Tax Dependency Deduction.  Hopefully your Decree has specific Orders about who claims which children in any given year.  However, if you are the Payor of Child Support you must be current on your child support obligation for the given tax year. For example, if you are entitled to claim your child for the tax year 2014 then you must have paid all of your child support for the 2014 calendar year and it must have been paid by December 31, 2014.  If you have arrears from a prior year it does not matter, but you must have paid for 2014.  If your ex-spouse has claimed the children for a tax year that they were not entitled to, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible.  We have seen judges, in Maricopa County either order people to amend returns or order them to reimburse the amount that would have been refunded by the IRS had the spouse properly claimed.

If you have any questions about tax issues surrounding your divorce please contact us for a free consultation at (480)420-2900.