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Hello JA Customer,
The IRS considers you to be married and therefore allowed to file a joint return in the following situations:
Considered married. You are considered married for the whole year if on the last day of your tax year you and your spouse meet any one of the following tests.
You are married and living together as husband and wife.
You are living together in a common law marriage that is recognized in the state where you now live or in the state where the common law marriage began.
You are married and living apart, but not legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance.
You are separated under an interlocutory (not final) decree of divorce. For purposes of filing a joint return, you are not considered divorced.
You may qualify to file a joint return if the state where you live recognizes your situation as a common law marriage. If that is the case, you may file a joint return.
Thank you JA Customer
Hello again Customer,
The state of CA does not recognize common law marriages at all, regardless of the length of time you have lived together.
However, if a couple meets the requirements for a common law marriage in a state that does recognize common law marriages, and the couple then moves to a state that does not have common law marriages, the new state will usually recognize the "common law" marriage. For example, if a couple lived in Texas, a state recognizing common law marriage, and met the requirements for a common law marriage, and then moved to California, which does not recognize common law marriage, California will recognize the couple as being married.
But if you have lived together in CA the entire time, then the state would not recognize your situation as a common law marriage.
Thank you Customer