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Filing status. Your filing status is based on your marital status as of Dec.31. If you are divorced under a final decree by the last day of the year, you are considered unmarried for the whole year, and you cannot choose Married Filing Jointly as your tax filing status. If you are still married at the end of the year (your divorce is not yet finalized), then you must file Married Filing Joint, Married Filing Separate or Head of Household, if qualified. You cannot file as single if you are married.
Joint responsibility. You may be held jointly and individually responsible for any tax, interest, and penalties due on a joint return filed before your divorce. This responsibility may apply even if your decree states your former spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns.
Name change. If you changed your name because of divorce, be sure to report the change to your local Social Security Administration office before filing your tax return. The name you enter on your tax return must be the same as what is on your Social Security card.
Estimated taxes. If you made joint estimated tax payments for the current year and you are divorced during the year, either you or your former spouse can claim all of the joint payments, or you each can claim part of them. If you cannot agree on how to divide the payments, you must divide them in proportion to each spouse’s individual tax as shown on your separate returns for the current year.
For more information, you can contact your tax preparer, irs.gov, or ftb.ca.gov. This information is from Tax Material, Inc.