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aaronhkelly
Level 1

Can me and my wife file Jointly after 7 years of Married but Separate? What would that process look like for filing Jointly for 2019?

 
6 Replies
VolvoGirl
Level 15

Can me and my wife file Jointly after 7 years of Married but Separate? What would that process look like for filing Jointly for 2019?

Yes you can file Joint or separately each year and change.  Just start with the person who has the most complicated return like has a business or depreciation, etc and transfer from that return. Or whoever you want to be listed first. Then pick Joint and add the other person to it.  You can only transfer from 1 return.  

 

Pay attention to assign each W2 or 1099 to the right spouse!  That is very important so go slow and read all the screens and look for the right checkboxes.  

 

Are you using the Desktop program or the online version?

aaronhkelly
Level 1

Can me and my wife file Jointly after 7 years of Married but Separate? What would that process look like for filing Jointly for 2019?

We normally file on our phones, but can certainly access on our laptop. I was always told that switching status would trigger an immediate audit. Jointly is certainly how we want to continue moving forward

Critter
Level 15

Can me and my wife file Jointly after 7 years of Married but Separate? What would that process look like for filing Jointly for 2019?

Switching filing status will NOT trigger an audit  however switching positions (taxpayer vs spouse) can confuse the IRS ... so if both of your returns are simple then whoever was listed first on the last joint return should be listed as primary taxpayer again to avoid issues.  

aaronhkelly
Level 1

Can me and my wife file Jointly after 7 years of Married but Separate? What would that process look like for filing Jointly for 2019?

But we have never filed jointly. I had an identity theft issue when I was 18 and didn’t want her tied up in it. Now that’s all taken care of, we would be ok to file jointly? @Critter 

xmasbaby0
Level 15

Can me and my wife file Jointly after 7 years of Married but Separate? What would that process look like for filing Jointly for 2019?

You may be forfeiting some tax benefits by filing MFS.  You can always change from MFS to MFJ.  Whoever told you changing would trigger an automatic audit was full of baloney.  In fact, you could amend as far back as 2016 to MFJ if you calculate the difference and see that your refund would have been affected.

 

If you were legally married at the end of 2019 your filing choices are married filing jointly or married filing separately.

Married Filing Jointly is usually better, even if one spouse had little or no income. When you file a joint return, you and your spouse will get the married filing jointly standard deduction of $24,400 (+$1300 for each spouse 65 or older)  You are eligible for more credits including education credits, earned income credit, child and dependent care credit, and a larger income limit to receive the child tax credit.

 

If you choose to file married filing separately, both spouses have to file the same way—either you both itemize or you both use standard deduction. Your tax rate will be higher than on a joint return. Some of the special rules for filing separately include: you cannot get earned income credit, education credits, adoption credits, or deductions for student loan interest. A higher percent of your Social Security benefits may be taxable. Your limit for SALT (state and local taxes and sales tax) will be only $5000 per spouse. In many cases you will not be able to take the child and dependent care credit. The amount you can contribute to a retirement account will be affected. If you live in a community property state, you will be required to provide additional information regarding your spouse’s income. ( Community property states:  AZ, CA, ID, LA, NV, NM, TX, WA, WI)

If  you are using online TurboTax to prepare your returns, you will need to prepare two separate returns and pay twice.

 

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1894449-married-filing-jointly-vs-married-filing-separately

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1901162-married-filing-separately-in-community-property-states

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1894449-is-it-better-for-a-married-couple-to-file-jointly-or-separ...

**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**
Critter
Level 15

Can me and my wife file Jointly after 7 years of Married but Separate? What would that process look like for filing Jointly for 2019?

Then do so ... there is no law against it ... just choose someone to be listed first and do NOT switch positions going forward so you don't confuse the IRS.  

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