Ahh taxes, what part of life don’t they have an impact on? Specialized situations mean specialized tax rules, and if they want to both protect their income and avoid running afoul of the IRS, divorced dads will pay attention to the specifics.
To help you navigate this often-confusing process, Divorce360 offered up some great tax advice for divorced dads. Here’s a sampling:
Tip 1: Report the correct marital status.
You must file your income tax as a single taxpayer if your divorce was concluded by the end of the year. If your divorce is final by December 31st, the IRS still considers you unmarried all year. Report your filing status as single if a judge signed a decree of divorce or separate maintenance. However, you may be able to file as head of household despite a signed decree — which can decrease your income tax obligation. To be eligible for head of household status: You must have paid over half the cost of keeping up your home for the tax year; Your child must have spent more than half the year at your home; Your spouse must have lived elsewhere for over six months.
Tip 2: Negotiate for child-related deductions.
A tax advisor can calculate which spouse will benefit the most from including these types of deductions. However, a non-custodial parent can’t claim the child care credit —regardless if he can claim the child as a dependent on his tax return. “If you want the credit, you need it in writing every year,” said Adryenn Ashley, author of “Every Single Girl’s Guide To Her Future Husband’s Last Divorce and Spotting The Kooks.” “If you take the credit based on a verbal agreement, or even based on your divorce decree, it’s still not legit.” Belinda Rachman, Esq., tries to make these written agreements a win/win for both parties. She includes a tax clause in the divorce that reads, ‘It is the parties’ intention to minimize their tax obligation by sharing the child tax deductions as follows. The parties shall each calculate what their tax obligation would be by taking all and none of the children as their tax deductions. The party who would benefit more shall take the deductions. Should the non custodial parent be the one who benefits more than the custodial parent, they shall pay the custodial parent what they would otherwise have received as a return or the difference they now owe as a tax without the deductions so that each side benefits and the joint tax obligation is minimized.’
Tip 3: Deduct your legal fees, if possible.
Legal fees that are directly associated with alimony payments may be tax deductible in certain situations. If legal fees accrue from protecting your income from an alimony claim, they may be able to be deducted. Even attorney fees can be tax deductible if they provided you with tax advice. If the itemized and total miscellaneous deductions exceed two percent of your adjusted gross income, some of the costs of the divorce can be deductible. These include fees for tax planning, fees for obtaining taxable income and fees for securing interest in qualified retirement plans.
Just as when you look for an attorney, it’s important to seek out a financial specialist who is well-versed in the intimate details of divorce laws and regulations if you want to ensure that your rights are protected to the fullest. It’s certainly worth looking at the rest of the Divorce360 article to catch more legal tips as well. After all, it is your money we’re talking about!