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If I divorce in 2018, do I file my 2017 tax return as married? I prefer to file as an individual, but I don't think that's possible if I was still married on 12/31/17.

 
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If I divorce in 2018, do I file my 2017 tax return as married? I prefer to file as an individual, but I don't think that's possible if I was still married on 12/31/17.

If you were still married in 2017 then you have to file as married filing separately or married filing jointly.  You cannot file Single.  Sorry.  If you lived apart for at least the last six month of 2017 and you had the children you could file as Head of Household.

**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**

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If I divorce in 2018, do I file my 2017 tax return as married? I prefer to file as an individual, but I don't think that's possible if I was still married on 12/31/17.

If you were still married in 2017 then you have to file as married filing separately or married filing jointly.  You cannot file Single.  Sorry.  If you lived apart for at least the last six month of 2017 and you had the children you could file as Head of Household.

**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**
Carl
Level 15

If I divorce in 2018, do I file my 2017 tax return as married? I prefer to file as an individual, but I don't think that's possible if I was still married on 12/31/17.

If your status was married on Dec 31 of the tax year, your two choices are Married filing Separate, or Married Filing Joint.

Some things to keep in mind here if you will be filing married filing separate, as most do in your situation.

 - If one of you itemizes deductions, then both of you MUST itemize deductions - even if the itemized deductions for one of you is ZERO.

 - If you are the one that has the 2016 joint return that was filed, then you are required by law to provide it to your ex, upon demand. If you are not the one and your ex refuses to provide it to you on demand, contact your divorce lawyer and let them handle it for you. Generally a simple phone call informing the ex of the criminal (yes criminal, not civil) implications for not providing it, is enough to get them to send it to you rather quickly.

 - When filing MFS, you are required to enter the SSN of your ex on your MFS return. Likewise your ex has to do the same. So both of you have a legal need for the other's SSN and are legally required to provide it. If your ex won't provide you his, then let your lawyer deal with it. The reason you have to put the SSN of your ex (who was legally your spouse on Dec 31 of the tax year) is so the IRS can cross reference the two returns to ensure both of you either itemized deductions, or both of you took the standard deduction.

IF one of you has dependents, you can NOT use the HOH filing status unless you were physically separated for at least the last six months of the tax year, and that dependent lived in your household for at least the last six months of the year. So if there are two dependents and each of you took one, it's possible for both of you to file HOH. But be careful with this, if your divorce was finalized AFTER July 1st, 2017.

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