Very few people seek annulments when a marriage ends. It is most common to simply file for divorce. An annulment is a legal determination that the marriage never legally existed and is often based on fraud, an underage spouse, a close family relationship between the spouse, an inability to consummate the marriage, lack of mental capacity, or already being married to someone else. Some people file for annulment believing it will assist in a religious annulment. Others file because they believe they were married under false pretenses. There is now a new reason to consider an annulment: taxes.
An IRS ruling has held that if an annulment is retroactive (applying back to the date of marriage), the couple was never legally married and thus were not eligible to file joint tax returns. This can be an important distinction, because it allows the couple to refile taxes for the years of their marriage as single people. This may result in a tax benefit and savings.
Note that refiling your taxes for the years you were married could be expensive, particularly if you need to hire a tax preparer or accountant to do so on your behalf. You may also no longer have the needed documentation available. However, the savings could override the cost.
Before you jump into seeking an annulment instead of a divorce, take the time to discuss the differences with your attorney. It is actually very difficult to qualify for an annulment, whereas any couple can get a divorce. You should also discuss whether there are in fact any tax benefits with your tax preparer or financial advisor before you make a decision based on this.
Call the Sampair Group for experienced assistance with divorce, annulment and their tax implications in Maricopa County. Our attorneys are ready to discuss your case and your options with you.