ATLANTA -- Filing taxes can be challenging for the newly divorced, according to Atlanta divorce lawyer and family and estate law expert Harmon Caldwell.
"To add insult to injury, tax season can be emotionally and financially difficult for someone who recently went through a divorce." said Caldwell, who has practiced law for more than 38 years.
Here are some tips for taxpayers who face the April 15 deadline as newly single:
1. Filing separately, jointly or married filing separately: If your divorce was completed in 2014, you must file your taxes separately. However, if your divorce wasn't finalized by December 31, you have the option of filing a joint or "married filing separately" return. A joint return will likely result in a gentler tax bracket and bigger deduction. However, you won't be able to claim deductions on alimony or spousal support and each spouse can be held responsible for mistakes on the tax return.
2. Taxes on Alimony: The recipient of the alimony money must pay taxes on it – just like one would with ordinary income. The one who provides the alimony payment is able to deduct their payments.
3. Taxes on Child Support: Unlike alimony, the recipient of child support does not pay taxes on it and the person providing it is not able to deduct the payments.
4. Claiming a Dependent: Only one parent can claim the child as a dependent. The custodial parent gets to claim the child unless the parties agree otherwise.
5. Mortgage Interest Deduction: If you were able to keep your home in the divorce, you qualify for one of the most lucrative tax breaks -- the mortgage interest deduction -- as well as deductions on real estate taxes. However, if the home is still held in joint ownership, both spouses can claim one-half of the deduction.
6. Taxes on Your Divorce Lawyer: You can't make a tax deduction on your divorce attorney fees except the fees paid when trying to produce or collect taxable income or when trying to obtain a tax refund. Long story short, you can take a deduction when an attorney was working with you on tax related issues such as alimony.