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Start a new turbo tax account if filing separately

Hi, do I need to start a new turbo tax account if both my spouse and I file married file separately in 2021? In 2020 and prior, both my spouse and I file jointly. We used turbo tax online account. In 2021, I plan to file head of household and my spouse will file married file separately. I'm using the existing turbo tax account. My spouse has created another turbo tax account. The existing account has his name as the first tax payer and my name as second. So I changed the account to my name and enter my name as the first tax payer. However, the software kept asking something about my spouse's. But what it asked is really related to me, such as self employment income. I guess the software is confused about the switch between the first and second tax payer. I have basically the same info such as children and carry over info of rental and depreciation from prior year. It will be much easier to use the same account. How to let the software know that there is a switch between the tax payer? Or do I need to start a new account? 

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7 Replies

Start a new turbo tax account if filing separately

Yes you should start a new account to file separately, BUT your spouse cannot file as Head of Household if you are living together.  It is usually always better to file as married filing joint if you are together.


To qualify for the head of household filing status while married, you must be considered unmarried on the last day of the year, which means you must: File your taxes separately from your spouse. Pay more than half of the household expenses. Not have lived with your spouse for the last 6 months of the year.

Start a new turbo tax account if filing separately

yes you need separate accounts, if you both use the same account, the last one prepared will overwrite the first which will no longer be available.

for you to file as head of household 1) you and your spouse must have lived apart for the last 6 months of 2021and 2) you must also have paid more than1/2 the cost of keeping up a home for yourself and your child or children at least one of which qualifies to be claimed as a dependent by you and lived with you for 6 months in 2021.


failing either rule leaves you with either married filing jointly or married filing separately


do you live in a community property state because income allocation may be needed see IRS PUB 555


if you can't file as HOH, MFS is usually the worse way to file because of various limitations and lost credits. 


Start a new turbo tax account if filing separately

If you were listed as the spouse on the prior year return then DO NOT use the old account and try to put yourself in first position ... as you can see it doesn't work well and can cause many issues ... always start a new account/return in this situation.   ALSO ... as others have mentioned the HOH filing status may not be available to you ... read the rules carefully. 

Start a new turbo tax account if filing separately

Prior advice on this situation is that:


When using an old account, where it was formerly MFJ...and switching to MFS the next year.

...1)  The person who uses that old account has to be the first person listed in the prior year's MFJ filing.   (but we can't guarantee there still won't be issues of some kind...sometimes a new account is easier for both)

...2)  The second person listed in the older account is the one who needs to create a new account.    And yes, in your situation, the carryover of the rental and depreciation will have to be re-entered manually in the interview  (if that information belongs in your own MFS filing).


Desktop software, on a full MAC or Windows computer, would normally be easier to use for this type of situation. One can create as many MFJ, and MFS tax files as one needs (even messing around with attempting an MFJ filing/switched to MFS for the second person to see if the switch could somehow be accomplished...and abandoning the file if you never figure out how to get the switch to hold).

____________*Answers are correct to the best of my knowledge when posted, but should not be considered to be legal or official tax advice.*

Start a new turbo tax account if filing separately

@joannal2005 - I know a lot of comments on the rules to file HOH but I don';t necessarily agree with the conclusion.  It can be a complex topic and it is possible that NEITHER spouse can claim HOH.  suggest running through this IRS app for each spouse as not all the facts necessary to come to the right conclusion were posted.  






Start a new turbo tax account if filing separately

@bluedeb @Mike9241 


You might want to bookmark the chart on Page B-8 of the attached IRS document (pdf page 44) as it is great schematic on how ”filing status” works,  It can become confusing in certain situations




You both noted the ‘"6 month living apart rule" in your responses as a condition of filing HOH.   That is not a condition of filing HOH if there is a legal separation agreement in place. 


Following the schematic, even if a couple lives together for all 365 days of the year and is issued a legal separation agreement at anytime during the year (it happens!), filing HOH is possible for one of the spouses.  (it is also possible that neither spouse qualifies for HOH even when there are qualifying children).


If there is a separation agreement in place, the only filing options are HOH or Single; MFS and MFJ are not filing options.  (be sure to read footnote 1 when reviewing the schematic)

Start a new turbo tax account if filing separately

@NCperson you have a habit of calling out people, I read the IRS information on filing HOH if married and my answer is correct.  The poster did not state they were separated.  You add onto almost all posts and contradict the answers, or post the same information.  Please stop calling me out, I don't appreciate it.  Answer the pages of unanswered posts.

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