Just in time for Jon and Kate Gosselin’s impending divorce, the IRS has released a very helpful form.

Last month, by coincidence, the agency came out with new rules for children of divorced or separated parents. Unfortunately, those rules will probably come in handy for a certain large family in Pennsylvania that has just set up a little village of toy “crooked houses” for their kids on their lawn, right next to a sadly broken real home.

Like 10.6 million other TV viewers, I felt impelled to watch the latest episode of the TLC reality series, “Jon & Kate Plus 8.” I had barely ever heard of the Gosselins, and their twins and sextuplets, until a few weeks ago, and then suddenly they were unavoidable.

As depressing as the situation is, TLC has certainly milked it like crazy by heavily promoting the episode in which the Gosselins would announce their plans for their foundering marriage. As expected, they told viewers they were separating. TLC clarified that a few minutes later by informing viewers that legal proceedings were underway that very day to dissolve the marriage. So much for the concept of a trial separation.

In any case, the show hit record ratings, but after next week will go on hiatus until early August, by which time TLC hopes to figure out how to film a series about a family splitting apart. The situation is reminiscent of the Loud family in one of the first reality series, PBS’s “An American Family,” back in 1973.

The plan for now is for Jon and Kate to take turns living in their home, but how long that will last is anyone’s guess. I know one couple that has used this strategy successfully in a New York apartment, but the plan is bound to undergo some strain in the Gosselins’ paparazzi-populated front yard.

No doubt the Gosselins will be making some changes to their 1040 forms next year, and not just in whether they file a single or joint return. Eight is enough in the dependents section on this year’s return, but the number may go down depending on how they work out the financial and living arrangements.

Meanwhile, the IRS’s rule change may come in handy. “For tax years beginning after July 2, 2008 (the 2009 calendar year for most taxpayers), new rules will allow the custodial parent to revoke a release of claim to exemption that was previously released to the noncustodial parent on Form 8332, Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent, or similar form.”

Chances are the Gosselins will want to check with a good CPA on this one, along with their divorce lawyers.


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