Merging individual clients for married filing joint (MFJ) and domestic partnership returns (1040)

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The joint client merge tool is designed to help you merge client date from two separate returns into a married filing joint return or a domestic partnership return for state use. Once two clients are merged, you can recombine them if any individual changes happen.

Before you start

  • You can only add state tax information after merging two clients. State information you add before the merge will be lost.
  • Federal Client Organizer data and Assets will transfer to the joint client. State Organizer and asset data will not.
  • Federal returns can't be filed jointly for domestic partnerships or civil unions.
  • If you are licensed for UltraTax CS Client Organizer and sent organizers to the taxpayer and spouse, complete the merge process after the client organizers are returned and all federal data has been entered.
  • If information in the taxpayer or spouse client changes after the initial merge, they can be recombined to overwrite the joint client.
  • UltraTax CS adheres to the following default rules when merging data:
    • Data in amount fields in single-unit input screens are added together and transferred to the joint client.
    • Non-financial data in single-unit input screens transfers only from the taxpayer client.
    • Data entered in statement dialogs in single-unit input screens transfers from both taxpayer and spouse clients, with the taxpayer items appearing first and followed by the spouse items.
    • All data in multiple-unit input screens transfers to the joint client.

      In some situations, the default merge rules listed above do not apply. UltraTax CS will make assumptions for screens and forms. Show me.

      Input screen Default
      2YR, 8615, 8867, Amend, ComPSt, FAFSA, Family, History, PRR, TPW, TPW-2, TPW-Comp, and TPW-ACA Amounts entered in these input screens do not transfer to the joint client.
      4255 Amounts entered in this input screen do not transfer to the joint client unless the amounts are entered in the asset module . After the merge, re-enter any non-asset module data in Screen 4255 in the joint client.
      1116, 2106, 2106-2, 3903, 8621, 8621-2, 8886, 8886-2, 8938-2, Broker, and MortgInt The Unit field in these screens may be reassigned during the merge process to ensure all unit numbers in the joint client are unique.
      3903, 5405, 8332, 8828, H, Home, and POA A maximum of two units will transfer to the joint client.
      3115, 4835, 5471, 8858, C, F, K-1, K1-T, and Rent If the Unit field in the spouse client has the same number as the Unit field in the same input screen in the taxpayer client, the entire activity will not transfer from the spouse client to the joint client. In order to transfer the spouse activity, open the spouse client, change the number in the Unit field to a number that will be unique in the joint client, and then recombine the clients.
      4684B and 4684P The Casualty/Theft number field may be reassigned during the merge to ensure all casualty/theft numbers in the joint client are unique.
      56, 1310, 5074, 8379, 8697, 8840, 8857, 8857-2, 8857-3, 8938, 9465, and Consent If the input screen in the taxpayer client has data, then the input screen data from the taxpayer client will transfer to the joint client and any input screen data from the same screen in the spouse client will not. If the input screen in the taxpayer client is blank, then any input screen data in the spouse client will transfer.
      8689 Input screen data will only transfer from the taxpayer client.
      8814 The Child number fields may be reassigned during the merge to ensure all child numbers in the joint client are unique.
      8839 The amount entered in the Married filing separate qualifying for credit and/or exclusion field will not transfer to the joint client.
      8862 Data entered in the EIC reduced or disallowed due to incorrect earned income or investment income? and Taxpayer (or spouse if MFJ) qualifying child of another? fields will not transfer to the joint client. Data entered in the Child 1, Child 2, and Child 3 sections will only transfer to the joint client if the child is present in the taxpayer client.
      PTC Only those amounts entered in the Shared Policy Allocation statement will transfer to the joint client.
      B&D

      If either spouse has an interest in or signature/authority over a foreign account, the information in all related fields will transfer to the joint client, even if the other spouse did not have an interest or signature/authority over a foreign account.

      If both clients have data in the 1202 Corp reported on 1099-DIV or 1202 Corp reported on Form 2439 fields, the data will not transfer to these fields in the joint client. If data exists in only the taxpayer or spouse client, the data will transfer to the joint client.

      Cr Data in the Not qualifying for child tax credit(s) and Total social security, Medicare and Tier 1 taxes paid (Force) fields will not transfer to the joint client.
      Cr-2 If there is data in the Form 8396 - Mortgage Interest Credit section in the taxpayer client, the entire section will transfer only from the taxpayer client to the joint client. If this section is blank in the taxpayer client, any data in this section of the spouse client will transfer to the joint client.
      EIC Data in the Disqualifying investment income (Force), Not qualifying for earned income credit, and Have IRS figure the credit fields does not transfer to the joint client.
      Elect A maximum of 10 election selections will transfer to the joint client. Entries in the Passive Activity Group Disclosure - Rev Proc 2010-13 section will not transfer to the joint client.
      Est Data in the Treat calculated amounts as paid field will not transfer to the joint client. The largest amount between the taxpayer and spouse client in the Amt to round up each estimate field will transfer to the joint client.
      Letter A maximum of five custom paragraph selections will transfer to the joint client. Data in the Miscellaneous Variables and Mailing Slipsheet section will not transfer to the joint client. Data in the Invoice amount (Force), Dollar discount, Percent discount, and Client invoice number fields will not transfer to the joint client.

Merge individual clients for a married filing joint return

Use this procedure to merge the client data from two individual clients into one joint client for purposes of filing a married filing joint return.

Add state tax information after merging for a married filing joint return. Any state information you add before the merge will be lost.

  1. Complete the individual tax returns as much as possible before merging, including the Filing Status in the General input folder on the 1040 screen.
  2. Select File, then New Client.
  3. Select a preparer (if applicable), and enter a unique client ID for the new joint client.
  4. In the Entity information group box, select the 1040 option and select Domestic Partner from the 1040 drop-down list.

    You need to select Domestic Partnership for married filing joint returns and will change this later.

  5. Do not add states in this screen yet.
  6. Select the Advanced Properties to open the Advanced Properties dialog, then select the Domestic Partners tab.
  7. In the Domestic Partners tab, select the taxpayer in the client list and select Select Taxpayer.
  8. Select the spouse in the client list and select Select Spouse.
  9. Select OK to close.
  10. In the New Client dialog, select OK to begin the merge process.
  11. If critical errors and/or warnings are generated during the merge process, the Merge Client Data Results dialog opens detailing those critical errors and/or warnings. Critical error messages should be addressed by the preparer before proceeding with the merged client. Warning messages are generally informational and may not require additional attention from the preparer.

    Note: To print the list of critical errors and/or warnings created during the merge process, select Print in the Merge Client Data Results dialog.

    Do one of the following:

    • If the Merge Client Data Results dialog did not open, there were no critical errors or warnings and the merge is complete. Proceed to the next step.
    • If critical errors were generated and you want to resolve those critical errors before completing the merge,
      1. Select Print print or save the list of critical errors and warnings.
      2. In the Merge Client Data Results dialog, select Cancel to stop the creation of the new joint client.
      3. Select  OK.
      4. Open the appropriate taxpayer and/or spouse file, correct the critical errors, and close the client(s).
      5. Return to the beginning and attempt to create the file again.
    • If critical errors were generated and you want to ignore them, select OK to complete the merge and proceed to the next step. UltraTax CS will generate a diagnostic message in the merged client when unresolved critical errors still exist.
    • If only warnings were generated, select OK to complete the merge, and then proceed to the next step.
  12. The new joint client will open when the merge is complete.
  13. Select File, then  Client properties
  14. Change the  1040 field from Domestic partnership to  Individual.
  15. Select  Add State(s) to add state returns to the joint file.
  16. Select OK to close the Client Properties dialog. If a warning message requires additional attention, make the necessary changes in the new joint client.

    If you recombine data from taxpayer and spouse clients into an existing joint client, any changes made to federal data in the existing joint client will be overwritten.

    After changing a Domestic Partnership return to an Individual return, the return type cannot be changed back to a Domestic Partnership return.

  17. Review the the merged joint client to ensure you have the desired results.

Merge individual clients for a domestic partnership return

Use this procedure to merge the client data from two individual clients into one joint client for purposes of filing a domestic partnership return.

If you are processing proforma'd domestic partner returns, see the Working with proforma'd domestic partner clients to preserve carryover amounts section.

  1. Complete the individual federal returns to the point of being read to file before you merge. Don't add state information until after the merge.
  2. Select File, then New Client.
  3. Select a preparer (if applicable), and enter a unique client ID for the new joint client.
  4. In the Entity information group box, select the 1040 option and select Domestic Partner from the 1040 drop-down list.
  5. Select the Add State(s) to add state returns to the joint client. If you don't see the state you'd like to add, it is likely that state does not allow Domestic Partner returns.
  6. Select the Advanced Properties to open the Advanced Properties dialog, then select the Domestic Partners tab.
  7. In the Domestic Partners tab, select the taxpayer in the client list and select Select Taxpayer.
  8. Select the spouse in the client list and select Select Spouse.
  9. Mark the Separately list individual returns in DPR transmittal letter checkbox if you would like the list of returns to appear in the Transmittal Letter.
  10. Select OK to close.
  11. In the New Client dialog, click OK to begin the merge process.
  12. If critical errors and/or warnings are generated during the merge process, the Merge Client Data Results dialog opens detailing those critical errors and/or warnings. Critical error messages should be addressed by the preparer before proceeding with the merged client. Warning messages are generally informational and may not require additional attention from the preparer.

    Note: To print the list of critical errors and/or warnings created during the merge process, select Print in the Merge Client Data Results dialog.

    Do one of the following:

    • If the Merge Client Data Results dialog did not open, there were no critical errors or warnings and the merge is complete. Proceed to the next step.
    • If critical errors were generated and you want to resolve those critical errors before completing the merge,
      1. Select Print print or save the list of critical errors and warnings.
      2. In the Merge Client Data Results dialog, select Cancel to stop the creation of the new joint client.
      3. Select  OK.
      4. Open the appropriate taxpayer and/or spouse file, correct the critical errors, and close the client(s).
      5. Return to the beginning and attempt to create the file again.
    • If critical errors were generated and you want to ignore them, select OK to complete the merge and proceed to the next step. UltraTax CS will generate a diagnostic message in the merged client when unresolved critical errors still exist.
    • If only warnings were generated, select OK to complete the merge, and then proceed to the next step.
  13. The new joint client will open when the merge is complete.

Recombine clients into an existing married filing joint or domestic partnership return

If individual taxpayer and spouse clients are merged into a joint client, and information in either individual client changes after the merge, they can be recombined into the joint client. 

If you are recombining proforma'd domestic partner clients and want to preserve carryover amounts, see the Working with proforma'd domestic partner clients to preserve carryover amounts section before proceeding.

Recombining data from taxpayer and spouse clients into an existing joint client will overwrite any changes made to federal data, including State if different fields, in the existing joint client. You can enter new information manually into the joint client instead of recombining the data to avoid overwriting information specific to the married filing joint client, such as amounts entered for section 179 elections.

  1. Open the joint client whose individual taxpayer and spouse client data you want to recombine.
  2. Select File, then Client Properties
  3. Select the Advanced Properties to open the Advanced Properties dialog, then select the Domestic Partners tab.
  4. In the Domestic Partners tab,
    • Verify that the selected taxpayer and spouse clients are the proper clients. If necessary, select a different taxpayer and/or spouse client.
    • Mark the Recombine the federal data of the taxpayer and spouse clients checkbox.
    • If you are recombining proforma'd domestic partner clients, also mark the Retain prior year carryover amounts when re-combining current year data checkbox.
    • If the new joint client will be used to prepare a Domestic Partnership return, mark the Separately list individual returns in DPR transmittal letter checkbox if you would like the list of returns to appear in the Transmittal Letter.
  5. Select OK to close the Advanced Properties dialog.
  6. In the Client Properties dialog, select  OK to begin the recombine process.
  7. If critical errors and/or warnings are generated during the merge process, the Merge Client Data Results dialog opens detailing those critical errors and/or warnings. Critical error messages should be addressed by the preparer before proceeding with the merged client. Warning messages are generally informational and may not require additional attention from the preparer.

    Note: To print the list of critical errors and/or warnings created during the merge process, select Print in the Merge Client Data Results dialog.

    Do one of the following:

    • If the Merge Client Data Results dialog did not open, there were no critical errors or warnings and the merge is complete. Proceed to the next step.
    • If critical errors were generated and you want to resolve those critical errors before completing the merge,
      1. Select Print print or save the list of critical errors and warnings.
      2. In the Merge Client Data Results dialog, select Cancel to stop the creation of the new joint client.
      3. Select  OK.
      4. Open the appropriate taxpayer and/or spouse file, correct the critical errors, and close the client(s).
      5. Return to the beginning and attempt to create the file again.
    • If critical errors were generated and you want to ignore them, select OK to complete the merge and proceed to the next step. UltraTax CS will generate a diagnostic message in the merged client when unresolved critical errors still exist.
    • If only warnings were generated, select OK to complete the merge, and then proceed to the next step.

Working with proforma'd domestic partner clients to retain carryover amounts

When processing domestic partner returns that were proforma'd from the prior year, all three returns related to the merge - the individual taxpayer, individual spouse, and merged domestic partner return - must be proforma'd to preserve the joint carryover amounts calculated in the prior year.

  1. Proforma all three related prior-year returns: the individual taxpayer return, individual spouse return, and the merged domestic partner return.
  2. In the proforma'd individual taxpayer and spouse federal returns, enter the current-year federal data.
  3. Recombine the individual taxpayer and spouse returns as described in the Recombining taxpayer and spouse clients into an existing married filing joint or domestic partnership return section.

    Note: The items listed in the table below will be retained in the merged client upon recombining the individual returns.

  4. In the domestic partner return, enter current-year state-specific data in the applicable state input screens in addition to the information retained during the recombine process. Show me.
    Input screen Amounts retained
    1099Q Basis of this account on 12/31/2020 field
    1116CO All 2008-2020 foreign tax credit carryover information fields
    2106 Section 179 carryover fields
    2Yr All fields on the screen
    3468 Investment credit and Rehabilitation credit prior year passive credit carryover fields
    4835-2 Section 179 carryovers, Excess Farm Loss, and all passive activity carryover fields
    8801 All fields on the screen
    8829 Carryovers for Operating expenses, Casualty loss CO holding period, and Depreciation. This information is entered on the assets Home Office tab.
    8903 All fields in the Prior Year Suspended Deduction section
    8910 Prior year passive credit carryover fields
    8911 Prior year passive credit carryover fields
    8936 Prior year passive credit carryover fields
    8941 Prior year passive credit carryover fields
    C-3 Section 179 carryovers, Excess Farm Loss, and all passive activity carryover fields
    CO All fields on the screen
    CO6765 All fields on the screen
    COGBCr All fields on the screen
    Cr-2 Certain retirement distributions received for tax year (including extensions) 2017 and 2016 fields
    CrBus All Prior year passive credit carryovers fields and Research expenses for prior 3 yrs fields
    CrBus2 All Prior year passive credit carryovers fields
    CrBus3 All Prior year passive credit carryovers fields and Indian employment credit recapture field
    CrBus4 All Prior year passive credit carryovers fields and New markets credit recapture field
    CrBus5 All Prior year passive credit carryovers fields
    F-3 Section 179 carryovers, Excess Farm Loss, and all passive activity carryover fields
    History All fields on screen
    IRA Traditional IRA basis, Roth IRA contribution basis on 12/31/2020, and Roth IRA conversion basis 12/31/2020 fields
    K1-7 Section 179 carryovers, Excess Farm Loss, and all passive activity carryover fields
    K1-St Section 179 carryovers, Excess Farm Loss, and all passive activity carryover fields
    PALCrCO All Prior year passive credit carryovers fields
    K1T-3 Section 179 carryovers and all passive activity carryover fields
    NOLCO All fields on the screen
    Pen 2020 Tax fields
    Rent-2 Section 179 carryovers and all passive activity carryover fields

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