Handling Taxes When You Are Divorced

The first year of your divorce means that you are now responsible for you doing your own taxes and it can be a little bit confusing.   You have to declare what your marital status is and if you are separated or divorced then you will be filing as a single individual.

One of the biggest questions that often arises for individuals that are doing their taxes for their first year of divorce is whether they can claim the monies that they pay for child support.   The answer to this is no this is not a allowable tax deduction.

However, if an individual is paying spousal support then the support payments can be deducted on the taxes.   This also means that the individual that is receiving the spousal support must claim this on their income tax return.

When it comes to the legal fees that took place with the divorce or legal separation, in most cases of these cannot be deducted.   There are some circumstances where they can and it is important that you speak to a qualified accountant to see which of these scenarios you fit into.   If they have been accumulated because of obtaining child support or to enforce an existing order for example, then they may be able to be claimed.

When it comes to the child tax benefit it is the parent that is most responsible for the care and the upbringing of the youngsters to claim the child tax benefit.   If it is shared custody then the benefit can be split between the two parents.

You will also need to speak your accountant as to whether you would be able to claim the equivalent to spouse credit which would depend on your specific circumstances.

Most likely with your divorce or separation you went through a equalization payment process which in most cases has nothing to do with your taxes.   There may be the question of capital gains or need to defer taxes regarding this.

Going through a divorce can be a very stressful time and then having to deal with the first year of taxes as a divorced individual can also be stressful.   This is why it is a good step to use an accountant to help you deal with your taxes for this first year of being a part.   It may be that your divorce was a complex one and that there was a lot of property involved and this may have to be dealt with when it comes to your tax obligations.


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Sam Seidman, CPA, CA, LPA
629 Sheppard Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 2S3

Telephone: (416) 398-1700
Fax: (416) 398-6226

Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant, Licensed Public Accountant


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