It’s Tax Time, Find Out If You Can Claim Your eX On Your Tax Return.

Can I Claim My eX On My Tax Return?

Divorce_Taxes The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a variety of tax rules that apply to divorced or divorcing couples. These rules affect your ability to legally claim your wife on your tax return when your divorce is finalized. To potentially claim your wife requires you to examine when your divorce was finalized and your ex-wife’s tax filing intentions.

  • Filing and Divorce Dates

The IRS views the status of your marriage on the last day of the year as the status of the marriage for the entire tax filing year. If you are legally separated but your divorce is not finalized on December 31, you and your spouse remain legally married. Conversely, a divorce legalized on the last day of the year would classify you and your wife as unmarried for the entire tax year.

  1. Married Filing Jointly Filing Status

    • If you and your wife are legally divorced on the last day of the year, you cannot claim an income tax exemption for her by filing your income tax return as married, filing jointly. Because of the IRS rules regarding your divorce date, you cannot claim this status or your wife’s exemption even if she gives you permission and agrees to sign the tax filing forms. You are also not allowed to claim the married, filing jointly standard deduction.

    Head of Household Filing Status

    • If you are considered unmarried for the entire year because your divorce was finalized by December 31 of the tax year, you may be able to claim your wife as a dependent, but not an exemption. This also enables you to claim the head of household filing status, which qualifies you for a larger standard deduction and a lower tax rate than filing as single. To claim your ex-wife, she must not have earned any gross income, she must not file a personal return, and she cannot be the dependent of any other taxpayer. Further, the head of household status stipulates that you must have provided at least half of your wife’s support and must have met at least half of the household expenses on your own.

    Claiming without Consent

    • If you and your ex-wife conspire to file as married, filing jointly to claim a larger tax refund or reduce a tax liability for the year in which your divorce occurred, both of you face the potential of a civil audit or a criminal investigation. Even if you are not charged with a tax crime, you will face penalties and interests on the taxes owed if your return had been filed properly. If you qualified for the Earned Income Credit based on information provided in your fraudulent return, your ability to claim the credit is disallowed for 10 years. Should you claim your wife as an exemption without her knowledge, you may face charges of forgery for signing her name, as both spouses must sign a married, filing jointly return. (

About The Author

Ashley Mott has been self-employed since graduating high school. She started an e-commerce business in 2005 that utilized pre-existing websites to market antique books, retail clothing and liquidated beauty products. In 2008 Mott began her “for-profit” writing career.

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