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Stephen G.
Stephen G., Sr Income Tax Expert
Category: Tax
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Experience:  Extensive Experience with Tax, Financial & Estate Issues
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My wife file seperately claiming Head of Household, but does

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My wife file seperately claiming Head of Household, but does not qualify under IRS rules. Now I can't e-file file as HOH. She also claimed my daughter as her dependent which prevents me from taking the $2500. tuition, despite proving 80% of my daughter's support.

How do overcome these issues?

Stephen E. Grizey :

Hi & thanks for using our service. I'll do my best to give you a complete & accurate answer. Please ask me to clarify anything you don't understand.

Customer:

sure.

Stephen E. Grizey :

Assuming your wife isn't going to file an amended return to correct her filing, your only alternative is to file a paper return & then the IRS will sort it out. They will probably ask both of you to document the HofH status as well as the support issue & tuition deduction.

Customer:

and this will delay my refund?

Stephen E. Grizey :

Are you divorced, separated or what?

Customer:

married with major issues

Customer:

soon to be divorced

Stephen E. Grizey :

Head of household is unmarried?

Customer:

nope married in '78

Stephen E. Grizey :

Do you live apart?

Customer:

about 5yrs ago i put the home and community prop assets into a living trust which specifies parents can come or go at will, neither is prevented from home access. I have a home based law practice there but as of '08 usually sleep elsewhere. but i'm home almost every day.

Stephen E. Grizey :

How do you qualify for H of H status?

Customer:

$25k tuition, $35k purchase of car for my daughter, 90% of home upkeep I pay for, all of the labor involved.

Customer:

the home is paid off so there is only a second line of credit which i pay for also.

Stephen E. Grizey :

But you are married................

Customer:

yes

Customer:

the wife carries me onher medical coverage and pays the base utilities.

Stephen E. Grizey :

Status is "Unmarried Head of Household"

Customer:

which will then allow me to efile?

Customer:

despite her claiming married hoh

Stephen E. Grizey :

There is no Married Head of Household status

Stephen E. Grizey :

Married filing Separately or Joint

Customer:

exactly married filing seperately claiming HOH

Stephen E. Grizey :

Not possible

Stephen E. Grizey :

No such filing status

Customer:

ok but the 1040 has the status and u check HOH

Customer:

if u qualify (provide more than 50%?)

Stephen E. Grizey :

Yeah, Unmarried only

Customer:

which she doesn't but did check and efile

Customer:

which now prevents me from checking HOH and efiling correct?

Stephen E. Grizey :

She's representing that she's unmarried; neither one of you can file that way

Stephen E. Grizey :

You don't qualify for Head of Household

Customer:

ok so i file married, filing seperately ... do i get the $2500 tuition deduction

Customer:

why am i not HOH?

Stephen E. Grizey :

I'd have to check on that; but the tax will be much higher anyway

Stephen E. Grizey :

Because you are Married

Stephen E. Grizey :

(see instructions)

Customer:

ok .. so i file correctly.. she's efiled filed incorrectly.. will they take my efiling?

Stephen E. Grizey :

Yes

Stephen E. Grizey :

MFS

Customer:

and do i claim the tuition

Stephen E. Grizey :

give me a minute on that one

Customer:

last question.. i support a 53 y/o brother living off the grid solely on my $250/mo. He owes IRS big bucks and doesn't want to provide a SS#.. how to handle that?

Customer:

i'm using turbo tax and one of the efile rejections says my daughter's ss# XXXXX be used twice (mine and my wife's) on two different returns which prevents efiling. what says you?

Stephen E. Grizey :

Hold on, a minute............if you use the MFS status there's no tuition deduction.

Stephen E. Grizey :

Where does your brother live?

Customer:

is there any status i can use to get the tuition deduction

Customer:

that doesn't require my wife's involvment/approval

Customer:

in Arizona

Customer:

on 40 acres open range in a motor home

Stephen E. Grizey :

One of the general rule on Married Persons claiming H of H status is that you live apart for at least the last 6 months of the year

Stephen E. Grizey :

However, there are some interesting rules on what constitutes 'living apart"

Customer:


<div class="JA_chatMsgAuthor"Customersays:

8:36 AM



exactly married filing seperately claiming HOH






Stephen E. Grizey says:

8:36 AM



Not possible






8:36 AM



No such filing status



Customer:

now i'm confused

Customer:

given your prior not possible

Stephen E. Grizey :

I want to give you a couple of links to read, but the botXXXXX XXXXXne is you are going to have to file a paper return if you are in conflict with what your wife has done; she doesn't pay more than 1/2 of the cost of keeping up the home, so she's loses HofH status on that point alone; you however, may in fact qualify if you can use your "lawyerly" talents to fit one of the exceptions..............

Customer:

ok...

Stephen E. Grizey :

Now read this material after the next link; that's important; so consider this link #2

Customer:

so if no efiling... when they get the paper filing, do they refund or audit

Stephen E. Grizey :

Here's the first one to read:

Stephen E. Grizey :

one thing at a time

Stephen E. Grizey :

That's the first link to read

Stephen E. Grizey :

Then this one:

Stephen E. Grizey :

Then we get to your situation (as long as you don't sleep with your wife):

Customer:

i think i can HOH

Customer:

fairly easily

Stephen E. Grizey :

That link is the same one I gave you first, that I said to read last

Customer:

i read the second then the first link

Stephen E. Grizey :

Yes, I agree but you'll have to file a paper return

Customer:

working on #3

Stephen E. Grizey :

Because your wife already did it

Customer:

#3 the same

Customer:

#4 ALSO

Customer:

right i will file paper but need 2 kno how IRS resolves that

Customer:

do they issue a refund then audit or audit b4 refunding

Customer:

and can i be proactive and file an explaination with supporting doc's with my paper

Stephen E. Grizey :

OK........first..........you realize that the last link doesn't address the living apart situation for married individuals except in a footnote (#3) to the memorandum link --- where it references a case where the estranged couple were denied HofH status...........

Stephen E. Grizey :

They will most likely send your wife refund (if she is getting a refund) as she has already filed & the refund is probably in the works already..................

Customer:

I'll go over those links in detail b4 I file but so far I think I can HOH

Stephen E. Grizey :

Your paper return will kick out once it is processed, just like the efile

Stephen E. Grizey :

then they will send you a notice, not an audit; requesting info re the points in conflict

Stephen E. Grizey :

all this takes a long time to get processed;

Stephen E. Grizey :

you can try being proactive, but once they give your wife the money; they aren't going to accept HOH from you without checking whether or not there are two separate households at the same address

Stephen E. Grizey :

what mailing address do you use?

Customer:

the home

Stephen E. Grizey :

Obviously you both can't pay more than 1/2 the cost of keeping up the same household

Customer:

she can't come close to my cost records

Stephen E. Grizey :

So all your attorney mail & your personal mail & your wife's mail comes to the same place?

Customer:

i take care of everything there

Customer:

yep

Stephen E. Grizey :

If you read the material you'll see it turns on there being two separate households at the same address

Customer:

right

Customer:

ok i'm fairly clear on that... are there any special forms for attachments on explainations

Stephen E. Grizey :

You don't have that issue, because your daughter(?) lives in a household (she doesn't have to live in your household) where you pay more than 1/2 the support;

Stephen E. Grizey :

your wife lives there too; there's not two separate households at that address; there's one & you pay 90% of the cost

Customer:

which issue?

Stephen E. Grizey :

you don't have to live there

Customer:

oh ok

Customer:

all i don't do is eat/sleep there

Stephen E. Grizey :

because then you wouldn't be living apart from your wife

Customer:

we don't comingle anything

Stephen E. Grizey :

yeah but you work in an office there don't you?

Customer:

yes

Stephen E. Grizey :

do you have any clients that you see there?

Customer:

dedicated office

Customer:

yes

Customer:

if/when necessary

Customer:

i do work comp so most is in court

Stephen E. Grizey :

right, so you eat, sleep, & work apart from that household

Customer:

yes

Stephen E. Grizey :

if you were a CPA, there's not much more to life than those 3 things

Customer:

so any special forms for add-ons?

Stephen E. Grizey :

laywers, another matter

Customer:

HAHAHA

Stephen E. Grizey :

Summary .................. So, you should go over those links so you get it straight in your mind; your key is that you live apart from your wife

Customer:

Luckily I'm retiring come Sept.

Customer:

yea but 2 questions remain

Stephen E. Grizey :

you pay more than 1/2 of the cost of keeping up a home where your daughter lived

Customer:

the add-on forms if any and inability to obtin brother's ss#

Stephen E. Grizey :

what do you mean add-on forms?

Customer:

yes, I paid 80% of her upkeep and 90% of the home

Stephen E. Grizey :

right, you can claim the tuition if you file HofH

Customer:

any special forms to provide the explainations at time of filing

Stephen E. Grizey :

Where does your brother live?

Customer:

AZ 40 open range acres in a motor home

Customer:

off the grid

Customer:

not his property

Customer:

no income expect my $250/mo

Stephen E. Grizey :

I'd forget him; you live anywhere for 250. a month; no ss# XXXXX XXXXX automatic kickout any way; you have enough issues without that

Stephen E. Grizey :

live = can't live

Stephen E. Grizey :

that's a lose, lose, lose

Customer:

he does. food bank provides canned goods. library provides internet. prepaid phone card $15/mo

Customer:

he gives me a detailed report and it's to the penny

Customer:

uses my credit card with a$200/mo limit

Customer:

shoots deer , grows vegetqables, uses solar panels

Stephen E. Grizey :

great, no ss# XXXXX

Stephen E. Grizey :

sounds like fun; the real answer is he has a rich girlfriend :}

Customer:

so despite his dependency I cannot claim unlessI can provide a ss#?

Stephen E. Grizey :

exactly - the name alone is a problem

Customer:

it's 26 miles to town, off a non-maintained dirt road, and in 3yrs he's had 1 ex-GF visit, that lasted 4 hrs..

Customer:

but he happier than most people I know

Stephen E. Grizey :

must be stir crazy by now

Stephen E. Grizey :

sounds like you should go visit him for the weekend

Customer:

yes when he has to go to the food bank he hates it in town

Customer:

hahhaha, just got back to check on him .. been over a yr

Stephen E. Grizey :

so he's depressed; must need some mental health help by now

Customer:

day trip only

Customer:

i've been watching for that.. he's not

Stephen E. Grizey :

the unibomber?

Customer:

at first he came close, but begged to stay and now he's actually thriving

Customer:

nope 2012'er

Stephen E. Grizey :

2012?

Customer:

figures it'll all be over soon

Stephen E. Grizey :

?

Customer:

12/21/2012

Stephen E. Grizey :

the world is coming to an end?

Customer:

search it .. it's interesting if nothing else

Customer:

coming to a major change

Stephen E. Grizey :

no I know you are nuts too :]

Customer:

hahahhaa

Stephen E. Grizey :

i hate lawyers - had too many of you as clients

Customer:

to put up with my wife it's a given

Stephen E. Grizey :

absolutely know about that

Customer:

so how do u feel about retired cops turned lawyers

Stephen E. Grizey :

OMG

Customer:

LOL

Stephen E. Grizey :

I had a full schloarship to law school & turned it down

Customer:

smart guy

Stephen E. Grizey :

where did you go to school?

Customer:

on both the scholarship and turning it down

Customer:

Southwestern SCALE 2 yr. fully accredited, but an azz kicker

Stephen E. Grizey :

how long were you a cop?

Customer:

did my undergrad in 2.75 yrs, grad in 18mo, working full time, figured 2 yr law school was up my alley

Customer:

14 yrs

Stephen E. Grizey :

where

Customer:

blew my hearing out working SWAT

Customer:

Alhambra PD

Customer:

dad and pals are all LAPD

Stephen E. Grizey :

you definitely are nuts

Stephen E. Grizey :

SWAT

Stephen E. Grizey :

you're lucky to be alive

Customer:

was high ground sniper

Customer:

no door kicking for me

Stephen E. Grizey :

I did some work for the SD Harbor patrol

Customer:

went to motor school in SD took Top Rider their fist POST approved class

Customer:

SD is a great PD

Stephen E. Grizey :

Your wife must wonder why she's still alive

Customer:

she's the mother of my only daughter that took 15 yrs to conceive

Stephen E. Grizey :

now tell me she's a cop too

Customer:

she's an AUDITOR banking

Stephen E. Grizey :

wow, must have been fun trying

Customer:

couldn't pass the CPA exam

Stephen E. Grizey :

well it is a lot harder than the bar exam

Customer:

so no special preemptive forms, just add a letter of explaination?

Stephen E. Grizey :

I wouldn't add anything; because the idiots that will look at it initially won't know what to do with that

Customer:

ok.. so a refund around this time next yr

Customer:

you have an office as well as online

Stephen E. Grizey :

did your wife claim you daughter just to be a PIA or what story is she going to give them; she must know it is wrong

Stephen E. Grizey :

I'm retired; just doing this for beer money

Customer:

best i can tell she's trying to max deductions and seperate liability

Customer:

as well as make my life miserable

Stephen E. Grizey :

35 years jerking around with tax law used most of my sanity

Customer:

2008 she forged my sig so she'd get the erefund into her acct

Stephen E. Grizey :

I started with Coopers & Lybrand in Boston, now Price Waterhouse Coopers

Customer:

2009 she took the enrtire 14k joint refund which was to go into the house and paid her bills off

Stephen E. Grizey :

look we all have those stories

Customer:

hahahah what NO co-miserate I thought u were my bud

Customer:

LOL

Stephen E. Grizey :

it's cheaper than being married for the rest of your life

Customer:

u single?

Stephen E. Grizey :

no, then I'd have to tell you my sad tale of woe

Customer:

hahahaha

Stephen E. Grizey :

yeah, i'm a 2 time loser

Stephen E. Grizey :

lost 2 fortunes

Stephen E. Grizey :

no more

Stephen E. Grizey :

no kids'

Stephen E. Grizey :

just met a woman who gave $500,000. to some Indian clinic last year

Customer:

yeah those Pachanga indians only get $100k/yr for each member, no work involved, they could use the extra $500k

Stephen E. Grizey :

I think she's a relative of some muti-millionaire; has a famous last name; maybe I finally got lucky

Customer:

keep me in mind ...

Customer:

LOL

Stephen E. Grizey :

don't know what she wants me for; maybe she needs a free tax return

Stephen E. Grizey :

I don't even do them anymore >00<; quit after 10,000.

Stephen E. Grizey :

returns

Customer:

does it really matter why???

Stephen E. Grizey :

not at all

Stephen E. Grizey :

ok, have I got you confused enough yet?

Stephen E. Grizey :

when the ship hits the sand, you can get me here just ask for "Steve G" & you won't have to go over the whole story again

Stephen E. Grizey :

never know when I'll need my own sniper

Customer:

hahahaha I'm retired

Stephen E. Grizey :

they xout any personal contact info

Customer:

but a solid pre-nep ought to work for 'ya

Stephen E. Grizey :

where are you in CA?

Customer:

phillips ranch

Customer:

or home west covina south hills

Stephen E. Grizey :

where is that; give me a break i'm on Cape Cod

Stephen E. Grizey :

what is it near?

Stephen E. Grizey :

damn lawyers

Customer:

if you put the letter c ahead of my name dann and add yahoo you have my email

Customer:

oh geeze

Stephen E. Grizey :

ok

Customer:

cape cod say hello to Martha at the vineyard for me

Customer:

oh that's shoud read dannd

Stephen E. Grizey :

if you put keeper with my school UMIAMI & add verizon and put it with a basketball net you got me too

Customer:

great next year you can do my return!!!

Stephen E. Grizey :

dandy don merideth

Stephen E. Grizey :

what major city are you near/

Customer:

LA

Customer:

25 miles east

Stephen E. Grizey :

just curious

Customer:

headig to Thailand OCt maybe retire there

Stephen E. Grizey :

you could of said in first place............south of LA?

Stephen E. Grizey :

you definitely are out there; take your brother with you; what a pair

Customer:

cal poly pomona, harvy mudd

Customer:

oh it's in town for me

Stephen E. Grizey :

were you there in Vietnam?

Customer:

Da Nang 70-71

Customer:

and u?

Stephen E. Grizey :

so it's good weather & inexpensive & a lot ex-patriots there?

Stephen E. Grizey :

football players

Customer:

which totally explains my mental issues

Stephen E. Grizey :

I pulled 315 in the lottery

Customer:

weather and cheap living great food wild gals

Stephen E. Grizey :

better bring your boots; you could buy a rice patti

Stephen E. Grizey :

give your brother something to do

Customer:

hahahaha

Stephen E. Grizey :

ok, we have to end this stand-up routine; good luck with it all;

Stephen E. Grizey :

hang on to that community property

Customer:

take care.. apprecaite your time

Stephen E. Grizey :

just worked on a divorce in Napa; nightmare on elm street

Stephen E. Grizey :

Don't forget to accept; I need a drink after this

Customer:

wino?

Stephen E. Grizey :

no; judge

Customer:

ok hitting the accept or save & exit?

Stephen E. Grizey :

ACCEPT

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