Major life milestones often have a major tax impact. Changes in your marital status, having a baby or adopting a child can have significant impact on your taxes. This is the place to ask questions about dependents, real estate, and other various scenarios that play a significant role in what taxes you pay.
11-13-2017 11:01 AM
my divorce is suppose to be finished on dec.11. Lawyers have brought up waiting to finalize divorce in jan instead. That way I can claim married all year, is there any real benefit from doing this.
11-13-2017 03:23 PM
Welcome to the H&R Block community.
Yes, there are many advantages to filing jointly. The only way there wouldn't be an advantage to filing jointly would be if your soon-to-be ex-spouse won't file a joint return with you.
When you file jointly with your spouse you generally get a lower tax rate, a bigger standard deduction, two or more personal exemptions on the same return, all of your deductions & credits combine on one return, and more. All of that put together means lower tax liability.
If you are legally married at the end of the year but cannot file a joint return with your spouse then you have to use the "married & filing separately" status. When you file MFS there are limitations on numerous items, and your tax rate is higher. You also get 1/2 of the joint standard deduction and at least one less personal exemption. Filing separately can occasionally be beneficial when you're married if one or both of you and your spouse has a high income (as in more than $75,000) because in that scenario filing MFS may drop one or both of you into a lower tax bracket and allow you to claim some deductions & credits that you would have been phased out of if you had filed jointly.
If you have any other questions I'll be glad to help.
Senior Tax Advisor (Tampa, FL)