Tax Tips for Married, Divorced, Jobless Filers
BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Life can throw more curveballs at you than Dizzy Dean in his prime. Touchstone events are not only sources of elation and anxiety, they often come with financial ramifications.
With tax season in full swing, it is important to see how changes to your status quo may impact your 2009 filing.
For couples who exchanged "I dos" in 2009, how to file this year's tax return is a crucial decision."Newlyweds can choose to file as married filing jointly or separately based on their individual situation, but they cannot file as single," says Mark Steber, chief tax officer for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service (JTX). "Usually using the 'married filing jointly' status provides the lowest tax liability and the highest standard deduction. However, if one of the filers has large deductions or expenses, the 'married filing separately' status may be more beneficial." Among the tips Steber offers:
DivorceIt's also important that you contact the Social Security Administration if there's a post-divorce name change. Post-divorce legal fees related to the separation may be tax deductible. Legal costs incurred to recoup owed alimony or child support can usually be deducted. Declaring children as dependents can be laid out in the divorce decree. A common arrangement is to allow each parent to claim dependents in alternating years.
Job lossNormally, unemployment benefits are taxable. However, under the Recovery Act, people who received unemployment benefits during 2009 can exclude the first $2,400 of these benefits when they file their federal returns. Most job-hunting expenses -- such as resume creation, postage and travel expenses -- are deductible. If you had to move more than 50 miles for a job, much of the mileage and expenses can be deducted.
DisabilityMore than 9.6 million people with disabilities rely on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and many of them might be paying more in taxes than necessary or missing out on deductions. Allsup, an Illinois-based national provider of Social Security disability representation and Medicare services, offers the following suggestions:
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