If you have been divorced recently, this affects your tax filing status. For example, filing as “married” will produce a different outcome than filing as “unmarried.” If you have obtained any of the following documents, you will file as unmarried for tax purposes:
- Final decree of divorce
- Decree of separate maintenance
- Judgment of legal separation
- Decree of separation
If you are unmarried, you can file as either single, head of household, or widow (whichever applies). Being divorced can also affect the tax exemptions for which you qualify. For example, if you qualify to file as Head of Household, your tax rate usually will be lower than if you claim a filing status of single or married filing separately, and you may be able to claim credits like the earned income credit.
Another example of divorce affecting your taxes is for individuals who pay spousal support. If you paid alimony to your spouse, you can’t count this as an exemption because it counts toward the gross income of the spouse receiving the spousal support. Alimony is tax deductible by the individual paying it, but counted as gross income for the person receiving it.