Publication 504 - Introductory Material


Future Developments

For the latest information about developments related to Publication 504, such as legislation enacted after this publication was published, go to www.irs.gov/pub504.

Reminders

Relief from joint liability. In some cases, one spouse may be relieved of joint liability for tax, interest, and penalties on a joint tax return. For more information, see Relief from joint liability under Married Filing Jointly.

Social security numbers for dependents. You must include on your tax return the taxpayer identification number (generally the social security number) of every person for whom you claim an exemption. See Exemptions for Dependents under Exemptions, later.

Individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). The IRS will issue an ITIN to a nonresident or resident alien who does not have and is not eligible to get a social security number (SSN). To apply for an ITIN, file Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, with the IRS. It takes about 6 to 10 weeks to get an ITIN. The ITIN is entered wherever an SSN is requested on a tax return. If you are required to include another person's SSN on your return and that person does not have and cannot get an SSN, enter that person's ITIN.

Change of address. If you change your mailing address, be sure to notify the Internal Revenue Service. You can use Form 8822, Change of Address. Mail it to the Internal Revenue Service Center for your old address. (Addresses for the Service Centers are on the back of the form.)

Change of name. If you change your name, be sure to notify the Social Security Administration using Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card.

Change of withholding. If you have been claiming a withholding exemption for your spouse, and you divorce or legally separate, you must give your employer a new Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, within 10 days after the divorce or separation showing the correct number of exemptions.

Photographs of missing children. The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.

Introduction

This publication explains tax rules that apply if you are divorced or separated from your spouse. It covers general filing information and can help you choose your filing status. It also can help you decide which exemptions you are entitled to claim, including exemptions for dependents.

The publication also discusses payments and transfers of property that often occur as a result of divorce and how you must treat them on your tax return. Examples include alimony, child support, other court-ordered payments, property settlements, and transfers of individual retirement arrangements. In addition, this publication also explains deductions allowed for some of the costs of obtaining a divorce and how to handle tax withholding and estimated tax payments.

The last part of the publication explains special rules that may apply to persons who live in community property states.

Comments and suggestions.   We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.

  You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service 
Tax Forms and Publications Division 
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526 
Washington, DC 20224

  We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.

  You can send your comments from www.irs.gov/formspubs/. Click on “More Information.”and then on “Comment on Tax Forms and Publications”.

  Although we cannot respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.

Ordering forms and publications.   Visit www.irs.gov/formspubs/ to download forms and publications, call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676), or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 days after your request is received.

Internal Revenue Service 
1201 N. Mitsubishi Motorway 
Bloomington, IL 61705-6613

Tax questions.   If you have a tax question, check the information available on IRS.gov or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses.

Useful Items - You may want to see:

Publications

  • 501 Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information

  • 544 Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets

  • 555 Community Property

  • 590 Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)

  • 971 Innocent Spouse Relief

Form (and Instructions)

  • 8332 Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent

  • 8379 Injured Spouse Allocation

  • 8857 Request for Innocent Spouse Relief

See How To Get Tax Help near the end of this publication for information about getting publications and forms.


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