The IRS and Matrimonial Tax

There are various tax issues that uniquely affect married persons. While married, couples may file using “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately” status. Generally, spouses who file their tax returns jointly are responsible for all of the tax liability of both spouses. Therefore, if one spouse omits income or falsely claims a deduction, whether intentional or not, the spouse will be held liable for the tax liability and penalties, unless the spouse qualifies as an “innocent spouse.” See the section on Innocent Spouse for a further explanation. Additionally, Inter-spousal transfers receive special treatment for income and transfer tax purposes.

There are also many tax consequences of divorce, including who claims the minor children as a dependent, and the tax effects of child support, alimony, and property transfers incident to divorce. With respect to alimony payments, they are taxable to the person receiving the alimony and tax deductible from the payor’s gross income, so long as the payments are made pursuant to a written agreement or court order.

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