A Checklist for Filing Taxes After Divorce

Divorce changes a lot of things and taxes are on that list. Newly divorced people should know how ending a marriage can affect their tax situation.

Here is a checklist of items to help when filing taxes after divorce:

Name and address changes

  • Name. When a name changes through divorce, it is important to report that change to the Social Security Administration. The name on a person’s tax return must match what is on file at the SSA. If it does not, it could delay any tax refund. To update information, taxpayers should file Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. It is available on SSA.gov, by calling 800-772-1213 or at a local SSA office.
  • Address. If divorce means a change of address, the IRS and U.S. Postal Service need to know. To do that, people should send the IRS Form 8822, Change of Address. Taxpayers should also notify the postal service to forward their mail by going online at USPS.com or at their local post office.

Withholding

After getting divorced, a taxpayer should consider changing his/her withholding. Newly single taxpayers must give their employers a new Form W-4Employee’s Withholding Allowance within 10 days. It is likely that the taxpayer may move into a lower tax bracket or reduce or eliminate Additional Medicare Tax. They can use the IRS Withholding Estimator on IRS.gov to help complete a new Form W-4. See Publication 505Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax for more information.

Filing status

Filing status will change to single to file federal income taxes each year. Remember, if a taxpayer is single as of December 31, the law says he/she is single for the whole year for tax purposes.

Scams

All taxpayers should be aware of and avoid tax scams. The IRS will never initiate contact using email, phone calls, social media or text messages. First contact from the IRS generally comes in the mail. Those wondering if they owe money to the IRS can view their tax account information on IRS.gov to find out.

Need more guidance on how divorce impacts your tax situation or how filing taxes after divorce works? Contact Wayne M. Pecht, Esq. at 717-761-4540 or [email protected]

Author: Wayne M. Pecht, Esq.
Part of the Johnson Duffie Estate and Trust Planning Team