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Post-divorce tax considerations

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2022 | Family Law

After a divorce, South Carolina residents will need to evaluate how they will file taxes. Their situation and whether they have children or not will affect their filing status as well as the different tax breaks and benefits they might be eligible for.

Figuring out your filing status

If you are no longer with your spouse, you will have two choices on how you can file. One is filing as a single person; the other is filing as head of household. To file as single or head of household, you must be divorced or legally separated by the last day of the year. To file as head of household, you will also need to have at least one dependent. If you were neither of those, you then have two options: married, filing jointly or married, filing separately.

Can you use child support and alimony when you file your taxes?

Child support cannot be claimed on your taxes, neither as a deduction, if you are the person paying, nor as income, if you are the person receiving it. Alimony is somewhat different. If your divorce was finalized on or before Dec. 31, 2018, you can deduct alimony payments if you are the spouse paying it. If you are the spouse receiving alimony, you need to claim the payments as income. However, if the divorce was finalized on or after Jan. 1, 2019, then you cannot claim the deduction or list the payments as income.

Tax breaks and benefits

For parents, filing after divorce can provide some benefits. Some of the benefits for custodial parents include:

  • Claiming the child as a dependent
  • Using head of household status to reduce your tax bill
  • Benefitting from the earned income tax credit
  • Claiming the child and dependent care credit for child care expenses
  • Claiming the child tax credit

Tax issues after a divorce can be complex. Be careful about filing correctly and review all your forms and information to avoid making a mistake.