Tax Ramifications for Separated Spouses

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When spouses have legally separated, it is important to ensure that the taxes are filed appropriately for each individual or as a couple if one party is dependent on the other. The ramifications of filing with the wrong data or supplying the Internal Revenue Service with incorrect information could lead to penalties, additional fees and possibly criminal charges.

Tax preparations are filed by the person that is the primary income earner in a relationship when it is a legal marriage with all benefits for taxes are included. However, when the parties are separated, it is possible that there is no dependent party any longer. If this is the case, both spouses that are still legally married should file separately. However, if one relies monetarily on the other, it may still be possible to keep the filing similar to the previous arrangement. The disclosure about separation may change some options. The data should be updated to the current situation.

If the relationship has ended in all but legal status, the IRS considers these two parties separate individuals. However, if they have not been separated for the entire year, it may need to wait until the next tax filing period. The fees, status and other options change when separation occurs, and it is essential to follow the proper procedure when a relationship is no longer valid.

If there are any children, this would affect who files which dependent and how. However, it is best to seek the advice of a tax lawyer to determine if any changes are necessary and when they must be amended.

Claiming Dependents in Taxes

When a spouse has been separated from his or her husband or wife, it is necessary to demonstrate this on the tax forms to ensure no penalties or adverse effects are felt for not modifying these alterations to home life situations. However, there are many that may still claim the other spouse as a dependent or as legally married and living together. The tax benefits are usually what are sought in these circumstances. The other spouse may have little to do with the actions taken. However, if one of the two wants to file with a dependent and the other wants to file as a separate individual, tax violations are occurring by one of the parties.

Some states require a certain amount of time before the couple are able to dissolve the relationship through a divorce. However, when the courts have granted a legal separation, it is often necessary to file taxes as separate individuals as well. If one spouse is violating the laws and still using the other as a dependent, it is important to report this or contact legal representation to protect the interests of the aggrieved party. It may be possible to pursue action for civil damages with lost tax returns. However, it is important to contact initially for a consultation to determine the best course of action forward.

The Consequences of Tax Law Violations

When tax returns are not filled out correctly, or if one has other assets and these are not counted, the individual may face criminal charges as well as penalties in monetary damages owed to the IRS or to another party. The person that is harmed in these proceedings may have the opportunity to file a civil litigation suit for monies owed due to the actions of the perpetrator.
The ramifications may become more widespread the longer the person is engaging in these activities. He or she should consider the cost if he or she is discovered or exposed for cheating the tax system.

Tax law violations may be severe depending on the factors of the case, and the violator may have no legal recourse against the IRS when he or she has been found attempting to monetarily gain at someone else’s expense. Additionally, the person filing may face other consequences if the spouse that is affected leaves town or the country after accruing significant tax debts. The person that files the return will be stuck with these fees and have no resource or remedy to the situation. He or she is held accountable for these debts and must pay them or face further legal consequences.

Legal Help in Tax Ramifications

It is imperative that individuals and married couples prepare tax documents appropriately. While the married individuals may file separately, the legally separated couple usually must file individually. When legal consequences are possible, it is essential to hire a lawyer for the case.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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