Just an update on my earlier post two above.. "Now over 16 weeks later, return still has not been processed by IRS..."
I requested my member of Congress to inquire as to the status of the unprocessed return. They submitted the inquiry to the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) to handle. Nearly 4 weeks later, still nothing. I called the Congressman's office again for them to follow-up. Pretty much immediately after that, the return was processed!
My account record indicates that the return was adjusted on July 3 and refund issued (check received July 5), and the adjustment notice is scheduled to be sent on July 15 (exactly 6 months from when they acknowledge receiving the amended return). The return itself was never lost and did not need to be resubmitted (which surely would have messed things up!), IRS simply was ignoring it. IRS customer service operators really were wrong by advising that I simply re-file the return - don't do it until there confirmation it is lost and unrecoverable (highly unlikely). There also was a hefty interest payment that IRS had to include with the tax refund; literally, every day they delayed processing the amended return was actually costing them at the high interest rates which they normally charge delinquent taxpayers!
As far as the refund itself, it is off by $1 from what was requested on the Form 1040-X. Reviewing the account transcript, I know exactly where the discrepancy comes from, and it is not in the tax calculation like you would think, but rather a rounding error (or mis-key) on one of the refundable tax credit forms! I might indulge myself to dispute the refund amount on the adjustment notice when I get it (just for thrills), as the error is a simple $0.50 that is supposed to round up and not down!
One other thing to add, if both spouses did not both file a married filing separately return before submitting the amended return to change the filing status to married filing jointly, then after the adjustment is made, that one original return with its original numbers becomes associated with both spouses on the tax return transcripts afterwards. That could be a problem if return transcripts are needed for income verification.
So, while the original advice here that a second MFS return is not needed before amending to MFJ is correct and true, it may be in your best interest to do so any way, if you want your tax record complete. Also, I suspect the IRS examiner would have preferred this in my case and might not have delayed the return, as original return processing is automated while amended return processing is manual. Doing so probably saves them a lot of work!
OK ... from what you said only one of you filed your return so only that return should have been amended. No matter how much you think the other person has to amend they CANNOT since they never filed an original return to begin with and since they are now included on the amended return they are considered filed and any return you send in now will be dumped in the trash. And of course that filed return will be in their tax files at the IRS just the same as the other spouse ... that is the norm when you file jointly ... the same return is registered under both taxpayers. So don't waste your time or the IRS's. Check your transcripts in a few months to see if the amended return has made it to both accounts.
Critter - I think you mis-understand. Tax return transcripts always only reflect the information provided on the originally filed return. Amended returns are simply processed as adjustments to the originally processed return on the account transcript, they don't actually change the return in any way. This is true even when amending from a sepate return to a joint return, which I wasn't sure about. I did not file a separate return before amending to a joint return because I would have owed interest, penalty, and late filing penalty as opposed to just amending the spouse's separate return to be a joint return and get a refund, and that did work! (but they surely did begrudge me for it!)
What I was reporting is that when amending a return from separate to joint, and the other spouse never filed, IRS associates the one separate return being amended as the originally filed return with the non-filing spouse. I guess that is necessary and sufficient to mark them as filed on IRS systems, but it still isn't their separate return and doesn't show their name, income, or taxes at all! Kind of weird seeing spouse's MFS return as my MFS return also, and certainly could cause great confusion if I needed to give a tax return transcript for income verification, but that's the way they do it in this case.
It was answered in that I did it and saw what happened.
To recap - The amended return does not void the originally filed return or serve as a subsequent joint return filing. What it does is cause an IRS adjustment to the original return. For the non-filing spouse, the original separate return becomes the originally filed separate return for both spouses! That may not be what you want, particularly if you have to later produce a tax return transcript to verify your income; for the non-filing spouse, the tax transcript will show the filing spouse's income only. While an account transcript will cryptically show adjustments in tax and filing status, the details of where those adjustments came from (the Form 1040-x) are not maintained by IRS.