Never let your spouse pressure you to file a joint tax return.
First, look at the circumstances. Is your husband forcing you to file a return in which you know he's not reporting everything? Is he currently not willing to negotiate a settlement with you? Does he have much more taxable income than you? Remember -- you don't have to file a joint return with him.
Depending on your particular circumstances, you have choices in how to file. There are two filing statuses: "married, filing separately", or filing as "head of household" when you have qualifying dependents and meet other criteria.
Filing on your own can often give you a very low tax bill. Not filing jointly now can be a negotiating tool when it comes down to the final settlement. This is because you can always amend a separate filing and file a joint return within a three-year period. That is why it can be a great negotiating tool.
Don't ever file jointly when you don't trust what's on the return. Signing it can cause you IRS headaches that you just don't need during these stressful times.
So never ever let anyone force you to file a joint return when you don't want to or when it's not in your best interests.
Linda Forman, CPA, P.C. is a Certifed Public Accountant who has practiced financial and tax guidance, retirement planning and ERISA issues, litigation support, and other areas of accounting in the Chicago area for over 30 years. She can be reached at (847) 316-1040. View her Divorce Magazine profile.
Certified Divorce Financial Analyst
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