can a dependent file married-joint status ?


I

Impalpable

Can a person being claimed as a dependent by their parents
file married-joint status if they were married as of
December 31st, 2006 ?

Turbo tax says yes, but they lose their 3,300 personal
exemption. H&R Block says the couple has no choice but to
file married-separate.

I greatly appreciate the help.
 
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P

Phil Marti

Impalpable said:
Can a person being claimed as a dependent by their parents
file married-joint status if they were married as of
December 31st, 2006 ?
You're phrasing the question backwards. Any married couple
can file a joint return. The question is whether one of the
spouses can be claimed as a dependent on another return if
they file a joint return. The answer is "no" unless the
joint return is filed solely to secure a refund and there
would have been no tax liability on separate returns. See
IRS Publication 501.
Turbo tax says yes, but they lose their 3,300 personal
exemption. H&R Block says the couple has no choice but to
file married-separate.
Block is wrong. Rather than my usual "I don't fix pipes,
and I wish plumbers would stop doing tax returns" rant, I'll
ask whether Block is saying they cannot file a joint return
at all or that they cannot e-file because someone has
already claimed one spouse as a dependent. If it's the
latter, the remedy is to file their joint return on paper.
If it's the former, the remedy is to avoid Block.
 
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I

Impalpable

You're phrasing the question backwards. Any married couple
can file a joint return. The question is whether one of the
spouses can be claimed as a dependent on another return if
they file a joint return. The answer is "no" unless the
joint return is filed solely to secure a refund and there
would have been no tax liability on separate returns. See
IRS Publication 501.
Block is wrong. Rather than my usual "I don't fix pipes,
and I wish plumbers would stop doing tax returns" rant, I'll
ask whether Block is saying they cannot file a joint return
at all or that they cannot e-file because someone has
already claimed one spouse as a dependent. If it's the
latter, the remedy is to file their joint return on paper.
If it's the former, the remedy is to avoid Block.
I believe the Block rep said it in a general sense. That we
could not file joint if she was being claimed. Neither my
wife nor myself owe. We both will receive a refund this
year. She lived in Missouri for the entire year and only
has Missouri income. I lived in Illinois most of the year
and all of my income is in Illinois. We were married
December 30th 2006 and she moved to Illinois January 5th.
(She was in school all year). Her parents want the
deduction. I believe I read somewhere that it is possible
to file a joint return for federal and then separate state
returns. She will be claimed as a dependent by her family
either way.

It seems the tax system is not friendly to married-separate.
Our joint refund is greater even without her 3,300 personal
deduction. My income was much greater than hers since she
was a student the whole year. Any advice on how to make
this work, or should I eat the extra refund dollars and just
file separate ?

Thanks for the help. Perhaps I should have majored in
accounting instead of marketing ;)
 
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Phil Marti

Impalpable said:
Her parents want the deduction.
It seems the tax system is not friendly to married-separate.
It's not.
Our joint refund is greater even without her 3,300 personal
deduction. My income was much greater than hers since she
was a student the whole year.
From this statement I infer that if you file a joint return
her parents will not be able to claim her as a dependent.
It's evident that you, at least, have some income tax
liability, so not all of your withheld tax will be refunded.

You and your wife control the situation, regardless of her
parents' wishes. My advice would be to suck it up and file
Married, Filing Separately for 2006. Future peace with the
inlaws is worth more than a few bucks in the bank.
 
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