View Full Version : Incarcerated Spouse & Income Taxes

04-26-2005, 11:01 PM
I will be married soon (YAY! :D ) and I was wondering if anyone has any info on filing a joint tax return with an incarcerated spouse.
I feel so funny asking this question given my profession but I have searched high and low and haven't been able to find anything.
I would appreciate any help that anyone can offer :)

04-26-2005, 11:07 PM
I would just get power of attorney so you be able to sign for him on eveything !

04-26-2005, 11:09 PM
i claim mine on my taxes and it makes a big difference. i would owe about 3500.00 if i did not claim him. i am not sure if there are reprcussions but my tax man knows the situation and puts him down.

04-26-2005, 11:17 PM
That's the funny part, I am an accountant and a CA registered income tax preparer but I can't find anything on this topic (haha)!
(Nor can I say that any of my clients have had this situation)
My finance' has already told me that we are going to get the power of attorney so I guess it will serve more than one purpose now :)
Thanks again!

04-27-2005, 05:24 PM
I just had to deal with this issue.....we got our income tax check and we don't have a bank account together, luckily I already have power of attorney so Washington Mutual worked with me and since I have had an account with them for years they let me deposit the check in my account and sign for him. Definitely get power of attorney...I have the "durable power of attoney" one..and make sure it is notarized! Also, I don't mention on taxes about his situation either.....

04-27-2005, 05:41 PM
Hi, I always file 'married filing jointly' and have never had a problem or any questions asked.

04-30-2005, 03:01 PM
I Have Spoke To An Irs Agent Last Year For This Same Thing.
She Told Me You Can File Married Filing Jointly. You Can Not Claim Him As A Dependent. If He Works And Earns An Income While Inside There Is Forms He Can Get And Send In For His Income Which Does Help Get More Money Back But It Is A Long And Hard Process We Had Started It But Stopped Cause It Was More Trouble Than It Was Worth. She Did Tell Me Claiming Him As A Dependent Is Against The Law As You Do Not Support Him The State Does Even If We Send Packages And Money. She Said Those Are Extras No Tax Right Off There Either.. So I Guess My Packages I Send I Will Count As A Business And Office

05-01-2005, 12:05 AM
I knew about the not claiming them as a dependent, no spouse can be considered one but I was just wondering about the ability to file with him at all because he's serving a life sentence.
Thanks everyone for the great info!

06-01-2005, 02:05 AM
Per my tax advisor, You can claim single-head due to him not being in the home. My husband has been down for 5 years and I have never had to file married because he is not in the home so I am considered single. Do you want to file with him on ? You have the option of filing either way. I found it more worthwhile to file single-head. Just my lil 2 cents:) Look into it as much as possible. Good luck with getting the needed info.
Be blessed....

06-01-2005, 09:56 PM
Yes I do, it would help me tremendously. I make way too much money as a single person so the higher standard deduction of married filing joint would be a great benefit to me at tax time. Thanks for the info, I really appreciate it : )

06-01-2005, 10:57 PM
sorry but i claim my husband as a dependent every your for the last 6 years and my tax man does know he was in prison and i have the check direct deposited and it does have his name on it and i have never had a problem cashing it. His name is not on my bank account. All my tax guy does is file everything online, giv me copies of papers for both of us to sign and i just have someone else sign his name.

Doc's Sis
06-02-2005, 06:00 AM
You have someone else sign for him? That's illegal! Why don't you have Power of Attorney so that you can take care of all financial matters legally? Your husband is not your dependent so maybe filing as Head of Household might be better? I don't know. IRS hasn't made any good rules for people who are incarcerated. If you were married when he went to prison, I don't think IRS would say anything if they ever find out where he is.... To get married now and to start filing jointly is different..... Can you contact IRS for their opinion and ask them to put it in writing for you??

06-02-2005, 11:39 PM
I can tell everyone right now that a spouse is never on a tax return as a dependent. Any half-rate tax preparer knows that would never fly with the IRS. I would bet money that your husband is listed right where he is supposed to be and then you are allowed a personal exemption for him which is all perfectly legal : ) Only children under 18 (24 if a full-time student) can be listed as dependents unless it is a case of, say.....a parent that is incompacitated and under your full care. I would be happy to look over your return if you'd like and explain anything (good, bad, or indifferent) to you (jdcjmc1) : )

06-03-2005, 03:08 PM
I just wanted to tell all of you guys to have all your documents in order and to be very careful. I always file as a single head of household and have never had any problem, but with the war in Iraq, everyone I know got audited and so did I. The IRS was unaware of my situation and I was accesed an underpayment of $1000 and then a penalty for $400 and something else for a total of $1600. I had to appeal it and go through a lot of stuff with the IRS so they wouldn'y garnish my wages, but it finally got cleared up, so just be careful what you do, it can catch up with you and the penalties will kick your butt for real.

06-05-2005, 08:36 PM
I will be married soon (YAY! :D ) and I was wondering if anyone has any info on filing a joint tax return with an incarcerated spouse.
I feel so funny asking this question given my profession but I have searched high and low and haven't been able to find anything.
I would appreciate any help that anyone can offer :)

06-05-2005, 08:39 PM
You may want to take under consideration if your spouse has any back child support.If he does you will need to fill out a injured spouse form.That's not to guarantee that you will get all of your money back.Also the tax form will need to be signed by your spouse.You can have him fill out a power of attorney form authorizing you to sign his name.I hope this is helpful.God Bless

06-06-2005, 04:02 AM
I will be married soon (YAY! :D ) and I was wondering if anyone has any info on filing a joint tax return with an incarcerated spouse.
I feel so funny asking this question given my profession but I have searched high and low and haven't been able to find anything.
I would appreciate any help that anyone can offer :)



06-06-2005, 04:32 AM
I would suggest filing as married filing single and let him file his back taxes when he gets out. Since he has no income per say, no taxes. There are multiple reasons why the IRS will abate (remove) penalties, such as failure to file, failure to pay penalties, and one of those excepted reasons is incarceration. Please note, if he were to "owe" taxes for any reason, the IRS will NOT remove interest, only penalties. I represent people in trouble with the IRS for a living, this has always been my route to address this issue. If anyone needs help with Penalty Abatement questions, feel free to PM me, I have the addresses, representatives names best to deal with, etc. Also, if you have any tax questions you can also call the Taxpayer Advocate Service which is free, 1-877-777-4778. They represent/assist for free in every state.

06-06-2005, 06:05 AM
Does he need to file a tax return for income earned while in prison? I know it's not much but it is still considered income. Last tax season I asked the prison if they issued w-9's? They said no. However, is there some form that he should be filing just to say "no income" or something like that? If so, what is that form?
Take care and God bless.

06-06-2005, 04:04 PM
Well it depends, the IRS will file your taxes for you sometimes, if an "employer" reports whats called "payor information", thats the money an employer reports to the IRS that they have paid to you as their employee this includes subcontractors, the filing for you by the IRS is called an assessment, which is basically a guess on the IRS's behalf, usually exaggerated. But if the prison is not issuing him a W-9 I presume he made under 600 dollars correct? Therefore no one is reporting payor information for him.He is not required to file, but hey a return showing zero don't hurt either. He is probably sitting in what is called "status 54" which is a noncollectable status if they have indeed figured out he is in prison. They basically don't know what to do with him. Yes I would file those unfiled years, but no sense doing it until he gets out, its not like they can garnish wages he doesnt get or levy a bank account he doesnt have. And as I mentioned in the previous post, the IRS will remove failure to file penalties (if there are any) due to his being incarcerated as an exceptable excuse. I hate shop talk!! If I can be any further help for tax questions let me know!

06-06-2005, 08:29 PM
Garysfriend......thank you so much!

Take care and God bless.

06-07-2005, 04:15 AM
Glad I could help, you're welcome, anytime!!

06-10-2005, 01:20 PM
I had a different kind of situation that hasn't been mentioned yet. I had a tax preparer do my husbands taxes with no problem. We were not married last year, so he has filed single, head of house hold. I have a power of attorney so I have been waiting for the check, but it never came. The IRS told me it was returned because of the address but I came to found out through the IRS that there was nothing wrong with the address and it shouldn't have been returned. But now, to get it sent again, I have to file a power of attorney with the IRS, THEIR power of attorney, not mine. Send it to my husband, hopefully he gets it to sign in, then send it to them and request they send the check to me. So when you get your taxes done, you need to file a power of attorney with the IRS, THEIR power of attorney,not a regular one... I am still waiting to hear from my husband if he got the form...still waiting for the money i desperately need!!!!\
:heart:bernedine :heart:

06-10-2005, 06:52 PM
On your tax forms there is an option to have the refund sent electronically to your bank account. This saved alot of time for me.
Take care and God bless.

06-10-2005, 07:17 PM
I just file as married filing jointly and have the check direct deposited into our account. you can either get a power of attorney or mail him the forms to sign and have him mail them back to you...power of attorney is easier.

06-12-2005, 09:00 AM
Here is a link to get the IRS Power of Attorney Form