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Priority Tax Relief

Divorce and Taxes Owed

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Untying the Knot

Divorce is a life-altering event that affects every aspect of your world, including your finances. Despite the emotional turmoil that you will experience, it’s essential to understand how divorces can impact the taxes owed by both parties. It’s worth noting that divorce does not transfer or eliminate any party’s responsibility, according to the IRS.

The Connection between Divorce and Taxes

Divorce doesn’t just signify a legal separation; it can also bring about significant changes in your tax situation, including the possibility of joint tax debt.

Here's what you need to know:

  1. 1. Filing Status Changes: When you’re legally divorced, your filing status changes. This shift can impact your tax brackets, deductions, and credits. Understanding your new filing status is crucial to ensure accurate tax reporting.


  1. Joint Tax Debt: During a marriage, both spouses are jointly responsible for any tax debt incurred. Even if one spouse earned the income or managed the finances, both are liable for any unpaid taxes. This responsibility continues after divorce unless the IRS approves innocent spouse relief.


  1. Child Custody and Dependents: Determining who claims the children as dependents can have tax implications. The custodial parent usually claims the child-related tax benefits, such as the Child Tax Credit and Head of Household status.


  1. Property Divisions and Capital Gains Taxes: During a divorce, the couple will often need to decide how to divide their property. This can involve selling assets and splitting the proceeds. On the other hand, capital gains taxes are imposed on the profit made from the sale of an asset. The tax is usually calculated based on the difference between the sale price of the asset and its original purchase price.


  1. Retirement Accounts and QDROs: Splitting retirement accounts requires a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Handling QDROs incorrectly could lead to tax penalties. Joint tax debt can arise if both parties contributed to retirement account issues during the marriage.


Divorces bring significant life changes, and understanding the impact on taxes owed, including the potential for joint tax debt, is essential. Filing status changes, joint tax debt, child custody considerations, property division, and retirement accounts are all interconnected with your tax obligations. 

By being informed and seeking expert guidance from Priority Tax Relief, you can navigate the intricate web of divorce-related tax matters, including joint tax liabilities.

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