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my husband is in prison and found out that he can file taxes

Customer Question
so he did and now...
my husband is in prison and found out that he can file taxes so he did and now he is getting a letter about frivolous positions and a 5000 fine what can be done about this and what does he need to send them to make this right
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Tax
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Answered in 44 minutes by:
6/21/2009
Tax Professional: Merlo, Accountant replied 8 years ago
Merlo
Merlo, Accountant
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 9,783
Experience: 25+ years tax consulting. Specializing in returns for US citizens living abroad
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Hello holyone,

Your husband would only file taxes if he had taxable income for the year.

Did he have some income from wages before being incarcerated or did he have some income from investments?

Did he claim a lot of deductions on his tax return and claim a large refund?

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
He does have a job in there and no he did not have income before incarcerated and no investments he file for 2 tax years 2007 and 2008 he received a check for 2007 but 2008 is the one they are questioning...no he did not claim alot of deductions or a large refund he just said he was getting back about 1300...he filed a 1040 ez. this is all the information i have.
Tax Professional: Merlo, Accountant replied 8 years ago
Hello again holyone,

How much does he make in prison?

Did you file a separate return from your husband?

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
i think he makes about 40-50 a month and yes i filed separte from him..and the paper i received from the irs does not give any information on what was wrong with the return..i am so sorry if this is not helpful i guess i will have to find out more information but i dont know where to began...
Tax Professional: Merlo, Accountant replied 8 years ago
Hello again holyone,

The problem is that your husband is claiming a refund for $1,300 when he did not even make that much for the year. He is not eligible for this refund which is why they are claiming this is a frivolous return and they want to charge him a penalty.

When someone is incarcerated, they generally only make about 40 cents per hour, and sometimes even less than that. So if your husband even had income of $50 per month, that means he only had income for the year of about $600. No taxes would have been withheld from that money. So how is he claiming a refund for $1,300 when he never paid in any tax?

The only way you might get a refund without paying in any tax is if you qualify for the earned income credit. However, being incarcerated and filing a separate return, he does not qualify for this credit.

I think that your husband claimed this earned income credit in error, which is what resulted in him thinking a $1,300 refund would be due, but he is not eligible for this refund. The best thing he can do is to withdraw his claim for this refund, and tell the IRS he made an error on his return. He should just tell them this was an honest mistake and that he did not realize he was not eligible for this credit. By doing that, they will hopefully waive the penalty they are requesting him to pay.

If this was helpful please press the Accept button.

Thank you holyone, and let me know if you have more questions. I will be happy to help you with whatever I can.


Merlo
Merlo, Accountant
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 9,783
Experience: 25+ years tax consulting. Specializing in returns for US citizens living abroad
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