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For tax purposes, your status on December 31 is the status you use to file your tax return. So if you got married in December, you will file your taxes for 2007 as Married. The same goes for those in the process of divorce - if you got divorced during 2007, you will file your 2007 taxes as unmarried.

The key to successfully filing your taxes if your marital status is in flux is having the correct name on the tax return. Your name on the tax return must match the name on file with the Social Security Administration. Any difference will likely cause a delay in your refund.

So... if you got married in 2007 and took your husband's last name in your daily life, but did not change your name with SSA yet... use your maiden name on the tax return. At all costs.. use whatever name Social Security has on file for your tax return.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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