With Apologies to Dear Amy: Tax Advice for Couples with Marital Problems – Part 2

Jun 1st 2015
Share this content

Question: Our divorce didn’t become final until early December. Can we still file jointly?

Answer: No. IRS rules bar you from filing jointly unless you were married as of Dec. 31.

Q: When my wife moved out, she took all my furniture with her. At tax time, am I allowed to claim a theft loss for the furniture?

A: It all depends on what the law says where you live. You aren’t entitled to any deduction unless the law in your state says a theft occurred when your wife took the property without your consent.

Q: I’m going through a particularly bitter divorce and need information about my husband's finances: how much he earns, where he has savings accounts, and his other sources of income. I know that he has to disclose this information on our tax returns. But I foolishly signed a blank return each year, and my future ex-husband absolutely refuses to give me his retained copies of our returns. Do I have to go to court to get them?

A: No. Nor do you have to pay an attorney or anyone else to get them. If you paid to have them prepared, the law, in most cases, requires the preparer to keep a copy of your return for at least three years after the filing deadline. Consequently, you should be able to get copies from the preparer.

In any case, you’re entitled to get copies of those returns from the IRS. This is so even if all the jointly reported income was your husband's. Get easy-to-complete Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Form. You can print tax forms online at To get forms in the mail, go to to place an order.

Mail your request to the IRS office listed on the form for your area. The 4506 form does not have to be signed by your future ex-husband. Copies are generally available for the current tax year and as far back as six years. The IRS charges $57 for each copy requested.

Q: Does the IRS allow an unmarried woman to deduct contraceptive pills?

A: Yes. However, at one time, the tax takers thought that no deduction should be allowed for birth control pills unless they were prescribed by a physician because pregnancy would seriously endanger the woman's life. But the IRS has long since ceased to quibble about medical deductions for the pill or such other birth control measures as sterilization, contraceptive devices, and legal abortions, though it remains unyielding on a tax break for the cost of an illegal operation.

Nor does the IRS insist that you must be married before you are eligible to take a deduction for these expenses – for outlays for psychiatric counseling to alleviate sexual inadequacy or incompatibility – or for what you spend on travel to and from the psychiatrist.

About the author:
Julian Block writes and practices law in Larchmont, New York, and was formerly with the IRS as a special agent (criminal investigator) and an attorney. More on this topic is available from “Julian Block’s Year Round Tax Strategies,” available at

Related article:

With Apologies to Dear Amy: Tax Advice for Couples with Marital Problems – Part 1


Replies (0)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

There are currently no replies, be the first to post a reply.