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Single to Married Filing Separately - Please Help

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Hi,

My husband is going to file an amendment to his tax return. He initially filed it as Single because he was told by the tax preparer that it is "Okay" to do so. But I learned that he should file as Married Filing Separately since I am not yet in the United States and I do not have an SSN yet.

So here are my questions, guys. Hope you could answer them per number.

1. I've read that he should file Form 1040X, is that right?

2. If so, I know that he has to print it and not send it online. Where should he mail it? Would anyone please give us the address here?

Thank you all so much!

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My tax accountant said specifically NOT to add my wife to the tax return. There is NO federal record of marriage here in the United States so you don't get added - ESPECIALLY since you don't even have a SSN yet. There is no long term benefit from filing jointly that way. She was right too --- Different states have different mailing addresses for federal tax returns. He can not add you as a dependent anyways, you didn't live in the U.S. the entire tax year.

You cannot be claimed as a dependent

Actually, he should leave his tax return alone.

Edited by SoCalMark

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Hi,

My husband is going to file an amendment to his tax return. He initially filed it as Single because he was told by the tax preparer that it is "Okay" to do so. But I learned that he should file as Married Filing Separately since I am not yet in the United States and I do not have an SSN yet.

So here are my questions, guys. Hope you could answer them per number.

1. I've read that he should file Form 1040X, is that right?

2. If so, I know that he has to print it and not send it online. Where should he mail it? Would anyone please give us the address here?

Thank you all so much!

1. IRS Form 1040x along with a copy of the return being amended.

2. Form is sent to the appropriate address located with the instructions for Form 1040X

3. You can filed a MFJ return if you have either a SSN or an ITIN. Completing the W7 and returning it with the tax return will allow a MFJ return and give you the ITIN for use until you have SSN. It's not very difficult at all, but does take a little time to process. Would recommend this approach as it would result in a lower tax burden which may result in a refund (i.e., money in your pocket).

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My tax accountant said specifically NOT to add my wife to the tax return. There is NO federal record of marriage here in the United States so you don't get added - ESPECIALLY since you don't even have a SSN yet. There is no long term benefit from filing jointly that way. She was right too --- Different states have different mailing addresses for federal tax returns. He can not add you as a dependent anyways, you didn't live in the U.S. the entire tax year.

You cannot be claimed as a dependent

Actually, he should leave his tax return alone.

So, you're tax accountant is advocating that you lie to the IRS and not follow their filing rules. Uh huh. Most accountants that advocate this approach are either misinformed or too lazy to process the additional paperwork necessary (i.e., W7 for ITIN, signed statement for a nonresident spouse to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes, etc.)

A married person can ONLY file a single if they meet the IRS definition of 'unmarried', which usually involves some sort of legal separation or oral judgement of divorce pending a formal decree. There is a provision, providing very specific conditions exist, for one spouse of a married couple to file HOH. But that is it. Otherwise the options are limited to MFS or MFJ.

In addition, when you sign the tax return there is some wording you are agreeing to, specifically, that the information you have provided is truthful and complete. How can someone who is married and does not meet IRS requirements for filing Single sign their tax return in good faith? Perhaps they forgot they were married?

And a spouse is NEVER a dependent for federal income tax purposes, regardless of where they reside.

However, leaving the tax return alone at this time would most likely not be a problem, but on a very different basis, that being that he likely paid a much higher tax than would be due if he filed MFJ. It is highly unlikely that IRS would come after someone for this and, as long as he files his amended return within three years of the original due date, then he is likely to end up with a refund and no filing penalties as no taxes would have been due at the original filing deadline.

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1. IRS Form 1040x along with a copy of the return being amended.

2. Form is sent to the appropriate address located with the instructions for Form 1040X

3. You can filed a MFJ return if you have either a SSN or an ITIN. Completing the W7 and returning it with the tax return will allow a MFJ return and give you the ITIN for use until you have SSN. It's not very difficult at all, but does take a little time to process. Would recommend this approach as it would result in a lower tax burden which may result in a refund (i.e., money in your pocket).

I forgot to mention in my initial response that you will need to provide a statement indicating your desire to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes even though you are a nonresident spouse, should you wish to file MFJ. However, the you must also add your income for the tax year to his income for the tax year and the result becomes your basis for computing AGI and the resultant tax.

Also keep in mind that there is a filing deadline for amended tax returns, that being three years from the date the tax return is due. Amended tax returns must be received by IRS (i.e., in their hands), not just postmarked, by that deadline.

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