Can The IRS Override Divorce Decrees?

The IRS Has Spoken

When your divorce proceedings have concluded, there’s a divorce decree that outlines each parties responsibilities very clearly. It’s extremely important to point out though, the IRS can override your divorce decree. They no longer accepts copies of these decrees (after December 31, 2008) as in the past. So, a noncustodial parent who claims the child as a dependent must file Form 8332 or a substantially similar statement with the return or, with Form 8453 (for an electronic return). You may or may not even be familiar with those forms, which is where help is beneficial.

Do I Need A Lawyer Or An Accountant?

It would be prudent during the initial divorce process to consult with an accountant in conjunction with your divorce lawyer. Each professional will be able to guide the process within their field of expertise. They can work to put together a cumulative picture of how to move forward when it comes to tax time. Every year there are changes to both tax law as well as state law pertaining to divorces. Typically, one professional won’t be well versed or certified in both.

Is It Actually Worth It?

While no one wants to deal with the burden of taxes, it’s substantially worth it to work out the details well ahead of time. At the end of the day, the IRS is determined to collect the taxes due to them. They will certainly override your divorce decree, make no mistake. You don’t want to be hit with interest, fees and possible jail time. The situation can be frustrating and taxing (pun intended) for all. But by working together, professionals can be effective in ensuring that a desirable and worthwhile outcome for all parties is achieved.

Still Confused?

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