If you are the victim of domestic abuse, it can feel as if your life is crumbling around you. It’s hard to escape those situations, and even once you do, life can still be quite difficult. Thankfully, there are some accommodations in place to help you get through this and get back to living your life. Read on to learn what you need to know about your tax rights as a domestic violence survivor.
One of the largest challenges of being a domestic violence survivor is establishing financial stability. It can be a difficult process, and leaving that domestic violence becomes trickier when you are in this financial insecurity. You should file independently, or, if you’re married to your abuser, you can file as “Married Filing Separately.” When you file your taxes, you are potentially qualifying yourself for multiple tax benefits that can help you later.
It may be almost impossible to have financial independence when in a domestic violence situation. In situations like this, the abuser may also partake in financial abuse and limit your access to finances, forcing you to be dependent upon them. Thankfully, Illinois has an address confidentiality program for victims of abuse. The state will provide you with a substitute address when interacting with government agencies, something like a post office box, to protect your tax return and other documents.
Filing your taxes is important for establishing a paper trail of financial independence, but there are other tax reliefs you may qualify for due to the nature of your situation. For example, you can potentially obtain injured spouse relief, a form of relief that releases you from liability for past-due tax debts from your spouse. Similarly, you can seek separation of liability, which divides tax liability on your ability to pay when you are separated, or even divorced. To obtain this tax relief, you will need tax documents from the last few years, which is why filing a tax return is critical.
This all can seem intimidating and difficult to do on your own, but thankfully, you have help. Many volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) programs offer services throughout the year so you can get the help you need throughout this process. Many VITA sites also work with community organizations and create programs to help you achieve financial independence, such as budgeting, career development, saving, and wealth-building.
It’s not easy to know your tax rights as a domestic violence survivor, but with this knowledge, hopefully, you can get onto the road to normalcy quicker. Your life will not be the same, but with the help of us at Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, you can strive to achieve that normalcy. We are domestic violence lawyers in Illinois who can help you understand the gravity of your situation and help you navigate the complicated and overwhelming situation you’re in. Our mission is to help you get back to living the life you’ve always wanted.