1040-US: Amending returns to change the filing status

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Question

How do I amend a return to change the filing status?

Answer

The process to amend a prior year return to change the filing status depends on which filing status you are changing from and which you are changing to.

To change the return from Married Filing Separately (MFS), Single or Head of Household (HOH) to Married Filing Jointly (MFJ), follow these steps:

  1. Merge the two separate clients into one joint client using the joint merge utility.
  2. In the joint client, click File > Client Properties.
  3. Ensure the drop-down for 1040 displays 1040 (Individual) rather than Domestic Partner.
  4. Use Screen Amend in the Separate Filings folder.
  5. On Screen Amend, enter the information as originally reported on the Taxpayer's original, separate return. Do not mark the Transfer original information box as this may transfer the merged data and not the Taxpayer's data.
  6. Open the Explanation of changes dialog on Screen Amend and enter the explanation of changes.

    Note: If you need to amend the state return as well, use Screen Amend and repeat steps 4-6 for each state.

To change the filing status from Married Filing Jointly (MFJ) to Married Filing Separately (MFS), Single or Head of Household (HOH), follow these steps:

  1. In the joint client, ensure that all data entered is coded properly to the Taxpayer, Spouse or Joint.
  2. Run the Filing Status Optimization utility to split the joint client into 2 separate clients.
  3. Open the appropriate client created through the Filing Status Optimization. The new separate clients will be denoted by a TP for taxpayer and SP for spouse.
  4. If you are amending the return from MFJ to Single or HOH, use Screen 1040, in the General folder and change the filing status to the appropriate code.
  5. Use Screen Amend.
  6. Enter all information as originally reported on the MFJ client. Do not mark the Transfer original information box.
  7. Enter an explanation of changes in the Explanation of changes statement dialog.

    Note: If you need to amend the state return as well, use Screen Amend and repeat steps 5-7 for each applicable state.

Amended returns changing from MFS to MFJ can typically be filed within the amended return statute of limitations. Amended returns changing from MFJ to MFS can typically only be filed by the due date of the original return. For more information on exceptions to these rules and special circumstances, refer to IRS Publication 504.

Related topic: 1040X - Amended return FAQs

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