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Tax mistakes women make

CINCINNATI (Sheila Gray) -- A consumer alert for women: you may be making some big mistakes on your taxes without knowing it.

Elizabeth Esarey said, "When you're married, you share jobs, one person does the bills, one person does the taxes."

When Elizabeth Esarey got divorced, it meant some big changes in the family finances, changes she wasn't prepared to address.

"You avoid it because you're so busy with what has to be done, the groceries, kids, working," Esarey continues.

But the tax man has to be paid, and women who are on their own will want to keep as much as they can.  Any single mother with children in the house should file as head of household.

Carrie Bray says, "There are a few more exemptions and benefits to filing in that status, and they might not realize that.  There are also credits for cost you pay for child care, education."

Financial expert Carrie Bray says women should get expert help for any retirement funds or tax deductions split by a divorce.

Another major life change which affects a woman's taxes, the death of a spouse.  She won't have to change her filing status to single right away, but Bray says there's a big tax mistake she sees a lot of newly widowed women make.

"Her deceased spouse may have had retirement assets, and she thinks, 'Okay I have access to that now.' Cashing out those assets has a huge tax implication," Bray said.

Bray says it's common for couples to split up the financial duties, like Elizabeth and her spouse did, but she encourages women to be more involved.

Bray says, "It's best to at least be knowledgeable about it and see how you're on track for different goals and not turn a blind eye and hope things will work out."

Elizabeth says she was glad to finally get on top of her taxes, and it was step toward starting to plan for the future.

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