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emc011075
emc011075, Tax adviser
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 2593
Experience:  IRS licensed Enrolled Agent and tax instructor
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I am separated and filed last yr as joint with my wife. This

Customer Question

I am separated and filed last yr as joint with my wife. This year I plan to do same. I read that in student loan apps we are better when filing joint for the Fasfa. The only problem is my wife and I are in litigation where she or her lawyer wont respond forcing me to go to court. This has broken all contact with her and so she won't provide the W2 and necessary tax documents to complete the joint filing. How do I resolve?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  emc011075 replied 1 year ago.

Hi. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to help you.

To file a joint return, both parties must agree. Unfortunately you cannot force her file jointly if she doesn't want to. If you are not legally separated or divorced and she doesn't want to file a joint return, your only option is to file married filing separate. It may affect your financial aid and you will not be able to claim any student or education related expenses or credits but if she doesn't want to you cannot legally make her to file jointly.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

She said she is filing separated / head of household claiming both kids. Is that because she has the kids more than me? How do I switch all my joint return I imported in ttax from joint to married filing separate?

Expert:  emc011075 replied 1 year ago.

If you kept separate households for more than 6 month and the children live with her for more than 6 month, she can file head of household. In order to file head of household, you would need a dependent. Once a return is filed jointly it cannot amended/changed to married filing separate. You can change from separate to joint but not the other way around.

Expert:  emc011075 replied 1 year ago.

Any questions? Is there anything else I can help you with today?

And if this answered your question, please take a moment to rate my response so that I may receive credit for assisting you today. You find the rating bar on the top of the page – 5 stars. However, if you need clarification, or want to discuss this issue further, let me know. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I did not file the return yet. I just wanted to know if since I filed married joint last year and now this year as married filing separate how can she claim my college so as head of household when he lives away at college?

Expert:  emc011075 replied 1 year ago.

Every person listed on a tax return (taxpayers and dependents) is usually entitled to one exemption. The college deductions and credits goes with the exemption. It means it can only be claimed on the return on which the exemption for the student is claimed. If she files head of household and you claim married filing separate neither of you can claim the benefits because she is not claiming exemption for you and in your case (you claim your own exemption) the disclassifier is the filing status.

Q: how can she claim my college so as head of household when he lives away at college?

I am not sure if you are talking about your education your your son's education. Even if the child is away at college and technically doesn't "live" with her, she can still claim the exemption for the child and the education benefits because going to college is considered a temporary absence for tax purposes, just like just like going to health institution, prison or combat. In this circumstances the person is expected to return to his primary residence and therefore such "going away" is classified as temporary absence (time is irrelevant). If the child lives apart to go to college, the child still meet all tests to be her dependent.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry I don't understand.this.how due to filing status neither can claim benefits..what benefits..and if we filed joint would we have these? If so I need to convince her in layman terms the adv to filing joint.

Expert:  emc011075 replied 1 year ago.

The college credits or deductions. They are not allowed on married filing separate tax return. There also other credits not allowed when file separate like earned income credit. But the only way to see the full picture is to prepare the return both ways (filing jointly or Head of household and filing separately). There are too many variables (income, type of income, state you live in, age of the dependent just name few).

In 95% of cases it is more advantages to file jointly than separately.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

What about how filing status affects fasfa, eligibility, or grants?

Expert:  emc011075 replied 1 year ago.

If you are formally and/or legally separated you ex-spouse's income will not be considered. Financial officer may ask for a proof of separation like utility bill or rental agreement for instance. You will only use your income and your return for file FASFA application.