Amending to Separate Returns

Today TaxMama hears from Dana in Florida with this question.

“I am in a very nasty divorce. We were separated for the past 7 years and for 4 of those years I agreed to file as married filing joint.

Can I now go back and re-file as married filing separate? It will not hurt me financially but it will nail him greatly.”

Dear Dana,

I certainly understand how you feel. And boy, 7 years! That’s got to be an expensive divorce.

Did you know that you can ‘bifurcate’ your divorce? That means you can separate the marriage issue from the asset issues and/or the child custody issues. In other words, you can finalize your divorce, but keep the other issues open.
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Anyway, moving on to your question.

The answer is no. Sorry.

Read this entry in IRS Publication 17 (See the Special Rules)

Separate Returns After Joint Return
Once you file a joint return, you cannot choose to file separate returns for that year after the due date of the return.
As it happens, you can do it the other way around – but that won’t help you.

Oh well, I do hope this ends for you soon and you can turn your energies towards something more positive. You’ll feel much better.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about divorce and other tax issues, free.
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Where? Where else? At

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