Filing taxes in the wake of a divorce can be confusing. Your filing status should reflect your marital status on the last day of the tax year you are filing for. Your status at the time will determine how you file and potentially change your deductibles and dependents.
There are differences when filing head of household or filing single (these are your filing options if you are legally divorced by the last day of your filing tax year). You may file as head of household if your home was the main home of your dependents, you can claim exemptions for those dependents, your ex-spouse has NOT lived with you in the past six months, or you paid more than half your home’s cost yourself for at least 6 months of the year.
Since in marriage you file joint marital status, the IRS considers both members of the relationship to be held accountable for tax filing. However, after the divorce you may no longer be held accountable for your spouse’s tax filing mistakes, even if they occurred during your marriage. If you can prove that you misunderstood or had no indication of your spouse’s misunderstanding of your joint return, you will be under no IRS requirement to fix the misfiling.
Any facts that would lead the IRS to believe that it would be unfair for you to be held accountable for your joint filing will also aid in your innocence. These qualifications are held under the Innocent Spouse Rule. While lawyer fees involved with a divorce are not deductible, any fees related to council on your taxes may be a potential deduction and should be considered when filing.