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Lev
Lev, Tax Advisor
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 28084
Experience:  Taxes, Immigration, Labor Relations
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A friend in the middle of divorce. Separated July 6, 2015.

Customer Question

A friend in the middle of divorce. Separated July 6, 2015. Took $40,000 out of a 401K in February of 2015. Will the party have to file together, and if they have to file together, will both parties be responsible for taxes and penalties on the $40,000?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Lev replied 10 months ago.

There is NO requirements to file jointly... That is a matter of choice.

If a person is married on the LAST day of the year - Dec 31 - for tax purposes - that person is treated as married for the whole year.

Then - when both spouses agreed to file jointly - they may choose to file a joint tax return - and in this case both will be responsible.

But if either spouse disagree - they will have to file separate tax returns.

Expert:  Lev replied 10 months ago.

Many married taxpayers choose to file a joint tax return because of certain benefits this filing status allows them. When filing jointly, both taxpayers are jointly and severally liable for the tax and any additions to tax, interest, or penalties that arise from the joint return even if they later divorce. Joint and several liability means that each taxpayer is legally responsible for the entire liability. Thus, both spouses on a married filing jointly return are generally held responsible for all the tax due even if one spouse earned all the income or claimed improper deductions or credits. This is also true even if a divorce decree states that a former spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns. In some cases, however, a spouse can get relief from joint and several liability.

Expert:  Lev replied 10 months ago.

When filing jointly, both taxpayers are jointly and severally liable for the tax and any additions to tax, interest, or penalties that arise from the joint return even if they later divorce. Joint and several liability means that each taxpayer is legally responsible for the entire liability. Thus, both spouses on a married filing jointly return are generally held responsible for all the tax due even if one spouse earned all the income or claimed improper deductions or credits. This is also true even if a divorce decree states that a former spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns. In some cases, however, a spouse can get relief from joint and several liability.

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