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Received a decree of divorce in Oct 2010. What is my tax filing status for 2010?

Chino Hills, CA |

I am in California. Received a decree of divorce in Oct 2010. Judgement of dissolution was entered on 10/5/2010, but date marital status ends on 2/8/2011 because of 6-month waiting period.

Am I considered "unmarried" for tax purposes? Am I qualified to use head of household filing status to file 2010 tax?

Thanks.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

For Federal Tax Purposes, per IRS.gov, you are considered unmarried for the whole year if, on the last day of your tax year, you are unmarried or legally separated from your spouse under a divorce or separate maintenance decree. State law governs whether you are married or legally separated under a divorce or separate maintenance decree. So, if California considered you married on 12/31/2010, you will be married for Federal Income Tax purposes.

Best,
Mike Molloy

Please be advised that, pursuant to Circular 230, any advice expressed in this writing as to tax matters was neither written nor intended by the sender to be used and cannot be used by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer.

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Posted

You are considered married in 2010, but will be able to file as single in 2011. You may still be qualified to file as head of household, but should check with your tax preparer.

Internal Revenue Code section 7703 PROVIDES: "(b) Certain married individuals living apart.-For purposes of those provisions of this title which refer to this subsection, if-
(1) an individual who is married ... and who files a separate return maintains as his home a household which constitutes for more than one-half of the taxable year the principal place of abode of a child (within the meaning of section 151(c)(3)) [card ß{Tax 034.00}] with respect to whom such individual is entitled to a deduction for the taxable year under section 151 (or would be so entitled but for paragraph (2) or (4) of section 152(e)) [card ß{Tax 035.00}],
(2) such individual furnishes over one-half of the cost of maintaining such household during the taxable year, and
(3) during the last 6 months of the taxable year, such individual's spouse is not a member of such household,
such individual shall not be considered as married." (Int.Rev. Code §7703 (b).)

Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship

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Posted

If you were living apart on the last day of the year without an intention to remain married and you paid more than 50.00% of your yearly household expenses and you had at least one qualifying person living with you; you are probably okay claiming the head of household exemption

The IRS says on their web site: If you live apart from your spouse and meet certain tests, you may be considered unmarried. If this applies to you, you can file as head of household even though you are not divorced or legally separated. If you qualify to file as head of household instead of as married filing separately, your standard deduction will be higher. Also, your tax may be lower, and you may be able to claim the earned income credit.

Please see a qualified tax attorney or CPA before acting on this matter as a careful review may suggest other more appropriate manners of proceeding. Do not act on this message as if it were legal authority, it is not.

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