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My estranged spouse electronically filed a tax return using married filing jointly with full knowledge that I did not agree

Peoria, IL |

Our divorce proceedings were filed last year but we were still married at year-end. My ex had been pressuring me for months to agree to file jointly but I had always said I wouldn't blanketly agree to it . I shared my W2 and other documents with him so he could prepare a "tenatative" joint return. Upon seeing the draft return, I could see that he had severely underpaid his taxes and so I clearly told him I was not in agreement with filing jointly. That evening, he went ahead and filed electronically without my knowledge. The next day, I saw that he had not only filed, but the reutrn had been accepted. I called the IRS, they said I should file my own return, married filing separately and that my paper return will trigger an investigation of his return. Can he get away with this?

Attorney Answers 3


The IRS is right on point. File your own return as married filing separately. However, I think you would be well served to include with your return a letter explaining everything that you stated here on this site. Get the facts in front of the IRS and indicate that you are concerned about following the tax law and therefore you ask for their guidance in this matter. In other words ask them if you handled it properly. It's extremely unlikely that you will get a response from the Service, but you have established a record - make sure that you send the return with your letter by certified mail return receipt requested.

I would also send a courtesy copy of the letter to your ex. ;-)

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The most prudent thing to do is to file your own return as the IRS recommended, which will probably trigger an investigation of both returns.

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Send a return claiming Married Filing Separately the old fashioned way. You might not be able to e-file after your SSN has been used. Enclose a short letter explaining that this is your official return and you never agreed to the joint filing made by your husband. Since it just happened, they will know you didn't just change your mind after the passage of time.

Christopher Larson

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