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Tax returns can point to hidden assets in a divorce

The more assets there are, the more complex the divorce and the more potential there is for hidden assets to exist somewhere.

Income tax returns can provide information that points to assets your spouse may have secreted away.

What tax returns reveal

The reported items in past tax returns should bring any discrepancies to light. Your attorney or tax advisor will know what to look for, but here are some possibilities:

  •         Schedule A, Itemized Deductions: Assets or income sources that are not found elsewhere are on here.
  •         Schedule B, Interest and Dividends: The assets listed here generate interest as well as dividends. Compare these assets to those you already know about. You may discover new or missing items.
  •         Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business: A depreciation schedule here will show assets a business purchased.
  •         Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses: This section is about capital gains and losses in real estate, stocks, bonds and other investments. Again, you may find new assets or assets that are missing when you compare them to those you already know about.
  •         Schedule E, Supplemental Income and Loss: This section may lead you to hidden assets from royalties, S corporations, partnerships or rental properties.

Other places to look

In addition to the telltale information you might find in tax returns, some hidden assets can almost hide in plain sight, so to speak. Check your safe or your safe deposit box at the bank. Look up your mortgage closing document, as information there will include your income sources, assets and liabilities.

Seeking fair treatment

If it is your decision to end the marriage, begin your search for possible hidden assets before you bring the subject of divorce up with your spouse. Providing your attorney with income tax copies and any other financial information you are able to find will help to uncover any hidden assets and ensure that you receive equitable treatment in the divorce proceedings.

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