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Charles Markham
Charles Markham, EA, MST, USTCP
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 769
Experience:  IRS Enrolled Agent, US Tax Court Practitioner
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Was married in 1985. Husband dies in Oct 2011. At his death

Resolved Question:

Was married in 1985. Husband dies in Oct 2011. At his death found out that our marriage was not legal. Have filed taxes all these years. Can I file single? Have lived in Georgia for the past 5 years and is not a common law state. Can I also file the same with Feds. Will I be in trouble if I do?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Charles Markham replied 5 years ago.

TaxWhisperer :

If you are certain of what you are saying, yes, you can file as single for 2011, since you are not in fact married. Are they past debts for prior years outstanding?

Customer:

Our Taxes are paid for 2010. I am most certain. I applied for his retirement from California and was informed from Pers that our marriage is illegal. We were married approximately 45 days before his divorce. Married Oct 16, 1985, divorced finalized in Dec 6, 1985. I did not know. He told me he was divorced.

TaxWhisperer :

That's quite a story. Anyway, getting to the tax issue. Yes, you can file as single for 2011 if you want. (Even if you were married, you could file

TaxWhisperer :

as "married filing separae" which is essentially the same thing.

TaxWhisperer :

In terms of being married for CalPERS, please remember there are about half a dozen states that recognize common law marriage.

TaxWhisperer :

All you had to do was visit one and hold yourself out as legally married, and you could be considered married.

TaxWhisperer :

Example, you stayed at a bed & breakfast in South Carolina and signed in as Mr. and Mrs. XXXX, you could then be argued that you

TaxWhisperer :

have a common law marriage in SC and other states must recognize it.

TaxWhisperer :

Anyway, just a random thought, about the PERS issue.

Customer:

Thank You. I can file both State and Federal right as single?

TaxWhisperer :

Yes.

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