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cparke3
Level 3

Superceding Return to Change Form 1040 Filing Status from MFS to MFJ?

I'm contemplating trying to do a superceding return in the wake of the student loan forgiveness announcement.  But I'm concerned that it may not work?  In my situation, spouse and I file separate timely 6-month automatic extension for the 2021 return, so the original due date for us is October 15, 2022, which hasn't come yet and e-filing is still open.   Spouse, however, already filed a married filing separately return and got a refund, while I haven't filed anything yet.  The superceding return intended here is to change this to a marriage filing jointly return, and there will be an additional refund due in addition to student loan forgiveness eligibility.  Will e-filing a MFJ even work in this situation, or does it have to be a mailed paper return at this point?  Will they just figure out to reduce the requested refund by the amount they already paid, or (if mailing) should I include correspondence to explain what we're doing?   I don't want this processed as a 1040X amended return (albeit one filed before the extension due date) because that is usually handled by IRS as a request for an account adjustment, not as a return filing, and it will leave me on record with no return filed.  And I don't think the student loan forgiveness program is going to be smart enough to consider eligibility based on amended returns, which can be filed up to 3 years after the due date...   Comments?

12 Replies
Critter-3
Level 15

Superceding Return to Change Form 1040 Filing Status from MFS to MFJ?

Duplicate post

cparke3
Level 3

Superceding Return to Change Form 1040 Filing Status from MFS to MFJ?

Yes, but this chain should be considered the original.

Critter-3
Level 15

Superceding Return to Change Form 1040 Filing Status from MFS to MFJ?

Well it is not ... already answered in your other post :  https://ttlc.intuit.com/community/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/21206

cparke3
Level 3

Superceding Return to Change Form 1040 Filing Status from MFS to MFJ?

Just for anyone else contemplating this: e-filing a joint return after spouse filed a separate return, even before the due date of the return,  doesn't work.  IRS rejects the e-file in this case with a message that spouse SSN cannot be the primary SSN on another return already filed separately.

 

So it looks like an amended return filed before the due date is the only way, however my experience with that is they don't really treat it as a superceding return and replace the originally filed return with it, but rather they just process it as a normal amended return which provides account adjustments to the original return (except in doing so they might bend the rules and allow things like changing irrevocably elections normally not allowed). 

 

Next I'll have to see if e-filing an amended return to change from MFS to MFJ works or not...

fanfare
Level 15

Superceding Return to Change Form 1040 Filing Status from MFS to MFJ?

"

[ /// /// /// ]

cparke3
Level 3

Superceding Return to Change Form 1040 Filing Status from MFS to MFJ?

Both spouses can also file separately (MFS) first, and then together they file an amended return to change their filing statuses to a joint return.  I prefer this approach, though it may cost two tax preparation fees and may be more work.  The benefit is both spouses filed an original return as opposed to just one of them.  Under your approach, the other spouse's record reflects non-filer even though IRS has merged the tax accounts when processing the amended return.

 

I think the point of this thread, however, is how does a superceding return actually work at IRS?  For example, normally you can't amend a return to change filing status from MFJ to MFS, but using a superceding return, you can do this!  But what is the proper way to get IRS to act like this against their own rules?

 

In practice, it seems you can't actually file new original returns (i.e. duplicate filings), but rather you just file an amended return before the due date of the original return (including extensions), and IRS will accept prohibited changes on the amended return like revising irrevocable elections or making disallowed filing status changes (like MFJ to two MFS), by virtue of the superceding return rules!  But I am finding that this return still will be processed as an amended return and result in IRS account adjustments only, and the original return will remain immutable and unchanged on the record.

fanfare
Level 15

Superceding Return to Change Form 1040 Filing Status from MFS to MFJ?

"Superseding returns" is described under "Corporations".

 

"The MeF system processes both superseding and amended returns for Forms 1120, 1120-S and 1120-F. "

 

This doesn't seem to be a concept applicable to individual return, Form 1040.

 

@cparke3 

cparke3
Level 3

Superceding Return to Change Form 1040 Filing Status from MFS to MFJ?

"This doesn't seem to be a concept applicable to individual return, Form 1040."

 

Not as directly, it seems, but it does exist nevertheless because the entire concept was invented by the Tax Court as part of the legal solution to the fact that Congress has never authorized amended tax returns.

 

See here for supporting references for how superceding returns are supported for Form 1040:

https://ttlc.intuit.com/community/after-you-file/discussion/re-superseded-return-didn-t-supersede/01...

Critter-3
Level 15

Superceding Return to Change Form 1040 Filing Status from MFS to MFJ?

The IRS just posted this info in June of 2022 and I am sure it has not been implemented  in any tax program yet, I know my professional program has not been updated yet.  So if you want to do one I am sure you will need to mail it in and pray the input operator understands.   However changing from a joint to separate return may not be allowed in any way after the original return is filed  but you can take your chances.   https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-taxpayers-now-have-more-options-to-correct-amend-returns-electronic...

 

Also the DOE has not yet posted the instructions on how this will work so keep appraised of the situation here :   

This is the official Department of Education FAQ and information on the Relief. 

 

https://studentaid.gov/debt-relief-announcement/

 

 

fanfare
Level 15

Superceding Return to Change Form 1040 Filing Status from MFS to MFJ?

"Additionally, a new, electronic checkbox has been added for Forms 1040/1040-SR, 1040-NR and 1040-SS/1040-PR to indicate that a superseding return is being filed electronically"

 

Is it the data clerk's job to toss paper tax returns, should they not find it to be marked "superseding"?

I don't think so.

 

see account code 

970  Duplicate return filed.

fanfare
Level 15

Superceding Return to Change Form 1040 Filing Status from MFS to MFJ?

"Student Debt Relief Plan Explained"

This will likely be challenged at the Supreme Court, and may be invalidated.

cparke3
Level 3

Superceding Return to Change Form 1040 Filing Status from MFS to MFJ?

"However changing from a joint to separate return may not be allowed in any way after the original return is filed but you can take your chances. "

 

Actually, the IRM surprisingly seems to specifically address this issue, so for the sake of anyone else reading this thread in the future, let me put it down here:

 

21.6.7.4.10 (03-18-2022): Superseding Returns
  1.  
  2. Consider the following when making a superseding adjustment:

    • Changes in irrevocable elections (e.g., Section 179, Joint to Separate)

      Note:

      A return filed after the original due date but on or before the extended due date does not constitute a superseding return in this situation.

       

    Exception:

    Use the appropriate refile blocking series when required to be associated with the original return (e.g., separate to joint)

 

That is a surprising and unexpected limitation on superceding returns that I did not realize!   I guess it is because IRC section 301.9100-2 ("Automatic Extensions") is meant to cover these situations instead?!

 

 

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