View Full Version : TAXES??? Need some advice on how to file


BJ'sWife0718
01-14-2009, 04:31 PM
I'm sure this question gets asked every year by newbies like myself, but I don't know the best way to file my taxes now that my Hubby's inside... Any one know the ropes on this one? Any advise would be greatly appreciated!

2sleepy
01-14-2009, 05:15 PM
Just file like you always do and sign his name, or if you are uncomfortable doing that, send him the return have him sign it and return it to you.

PTO-79211
01-14-2009, 05:38 PM
My husband was telling me something about being able to claim him on my taxes this year...something about it being like a donation??? :confused: I have never heard of this before....has anyone else?

negretelove
01-14-2009, 05:41 PM
my man was saying the same thin about claiming him....i spoke with the guy that does my taxes and he says no...they are claimed by the state. :(

nothingbuttruth
01-20-2009, 05:14 PM
i just file married but i put his income as 0

2sleepy
01-21-2009, 12:16 PM
my man was saying the same thin about claiming him....i spoke with the guy that does my taxes and he says no...they are claimed by the state. :(
Your tax guy is a dork, the state doesn't file income tax returns and claim inmates as a deduction.. If you are married, just file a joint return, there is nothing on that return that precludes you from filing that way.

sunniegurl07
01-21-2009, 03:35 PM
2sleepy is incorrect on this one, but the tax guy might still be a dork :)

Pay close attention to this, ladies and gents, as the IRS is cracking down heavily on falsified tax returns:

You are considered UNMARRIED for the purposes of filing status on your tax return if your spouse did NOT live in your home during the last 6 months of the tax year. There are special circumstances that qualify you for temporary absences but incarceration is NOT one of them.

If you are claiming an inmate on your tax return by filing "married" when you are living apart for anything other than a temporary absence, you are committing tax FRAUD. In addition, the person can NOT be claimed as a dependent. (It bears mentioning that while you can't file married, you may still qualify to file as head of household ... in addition, there are special rules for inmate labor / wages, but it still does not change filing status.)

ALWAYS consult with a tax professional or call the taxing authority directly before doing something you are unsure about. You may be committing a crime.

As a side note, do NOT sign someone else's name on a tax return. Unless you have a valid power of attorney to do so, you are committing yet another crime. With minimum mandatory sentences in the federal system, you don't want to mess around.

2sleepy
01-21-2009, 06:49 PM
That is just not correct, this is from the IRS site http://www.irs.gov/publications/p501/ar02.html#en_US_publink100041753
What you might be confusing is the difference between claiming the inmate husband as a dependent (which would be subject to the rules you mentioned, as opposed to just filing a joint return) But, if he owes restitution or fines, they might take that out of the return- you can get it back but its an involved process requiring you to claim 'innocent spouse' status

sunniegurl07
01-21-2009, 07:35 PM
You need to read the source you provided, 2sleepy. Check the section labeled "Marital Status". Under the "Married Persons" section it states:

Married persons living apart. If you live apart from your spouse and meet certain tests, you may be considered unmarried. If this applies to you, you can file as head of household even though you are not divorced or legally separated. If you qualify to file as head of household instead of as married filing separately, your standard deduction will be higher. Also, your tax may be lower, and you may be able to claim the earned income credit. See Head of Household , later.

With regards to an inmate / prisoner, I can say with confidence you can NOT file "married" for tax purposes if your spouse does not live with you for more than six mos. in the tax year.

kima
01-21-2009, 07:49 PM
Question. What if the prisoner and you had a business together and he was your spouse, but he went to prison in May, six months earlier than the end of the tax year? Or what if he worked and paid taxes in that tax year, but was incarcerated before June of that year? (i am asking for others who may find themselves in this situation - unfortunately I don't have this worry).

sunniegurl07
01-21-2009, 08:05 PM
Each individual situation is different. The inmate is not precluded from filing a tax return. He or she can certainly file if there is legitimate activity that warrants the filing. However, there are various filing statuses that come into consideration. In most cases, the spouse "on the street" files head of household. Each situation warrants personal review, though, and special tests are used to determine the filing status. First year filing after an inmate's incarceration is a bit sticky. After that, however, it becomes more cut and dry (although there can still be special variables, such as an inmate who has a pension that he receives payments on).

Anyone who questions this info should place a general call to the IRS, and they will clearly spell out the process for handling inmates with regards to tax returns. States taxing authorities (like the Franchise Tax Board in California) have their own statutes. With the rise in inmate tax return fraud, though, they've got a lot of new legistation and oversight that is floating through to curtail federal tax fraud.

monkeyseesall
01-21-2009, 08:16 PM
I called the IRS and asked if I could file Married jointly with my husband in prison, He said, Yes. I called back again just to make sure and was told the same thing. I have been filing married jointly for three years now and go through H&R Block. My tax lady puts on the form that he is incarcerated. I also file the injured spouse form.

HebrewLove
01-21-2009, 09:19 PM
I called the IRS and asked if I could file Married jointly with my husband in prison, He said, Yes. I called back again just to make sure and was told the same thing. I have been filing married jointly for three years now and go through H&R Block. My tax lady puts on the form that he is incarcerated. I also file the injured spouse form.

I am not 100% clear on this one yet. But everything I've read gives a few main points : #1 DO NOT SIGN HIS NAME. As said previously you can't sign someone else's name on a tax document unless you have Power of Attorney. Know that in some states the person who has Power of Atty can not be joined to the person financially. This means that there can not be any way for you to benefit financially from signing their name. This includes a tax refund.

#2 - If your spouse never lived with you for the entire year, you more than likely will qualify to file head of household if you have other children. You can not claim him as a dependent.

#3 - If your husband worked before he went to prison this year and will file taxes as well, you should file "Married, filing separately".

So, Monkeyseeall, yes you can file Married Filing Separately if he's going to file his own for the year. Did you talk to the IRS rep in detail and explain your situation?

sunniegurl07
01-21-2009, 09:32 PM
If you call the IRS again, when the agent provides his / her ID number, I would make note of it and send a written notice to them. Your filing status ties to your dependency exemptions and the amount of your standard deduction (unless you itemize deductions). Taking a higher deduction or claiming a deduction for someone who is supported by the state or federal government is a no no. I don't know the specifics of your situation, and since you place your signature to your return, I will assume you've covered your bases.

For reference, the IRS sends ALL refund returns through its Electronic Fraud Detection System before issuing a refund. If the filer is a prisoner according to information provided by federal / state prison officials, the return is flagged with a "prisoner indicator". The prisoner indicator is one of several elements used by the Electronic Fraud Detection System to assign a data mining score to tax returns. The higher the score a return receives, the greater the likelihood that the return is fraudulent. In the past, it was easier to "get one over" on the government, but the times "they are a changin' ..."

Also for reference, don't assume that the tax preparer is liable for your return. You are ultimately responsible for the information on your return, even if it was prepared by someone else. If the IRS determines your return contains fraudulent information, you'll be liable for the unpaid taxes, plus interest and penalties, in addition to investigatory proceedings for criminal activity. Choose a tax preparer wisely, too, as there are a lot of BAD apples out there who don't know much about taxes. Most of the chains hire seasonal workers who go through minimal training. California requires its tax preparers to be registered with the CTEC and bonded, but most states in the nation do not have such standards. If your tax preparer told you that you can do something, I would send them a quick e-mail asking “By the way, I just want to clarify that I am supposed to XXXXXXX. Did I understand that correctly when you told me so?” Save the response, as it may come in handy down the line …

2sleepy
01-21-2009, 11:58 PM
Here's the bottom line, file any way you want- but as long as you are not committing fraud, you will not go to jail. The worst that happens is you will get a letter asking for clarification regarding your filing status, you have the option to defend your decision on filing status, or pay the difference (plus a tiny penalty) for filing incorrectly. I was an accounting major, I worked for an accounting firm & I know better than to give 'tax advice' I suggest that you call IRS yourselves and see what they say, and always do your taxes a couple different ways- filing jointly, filing as head of household etc. and as long as the way you are filing is legal- then just do what ever saves you the most money. I would not suggest that anyone file 'married filing separately' unless they are told by IRS that they have to- that is probably the worst way to file, it results in much higher taxes than filing jointly or as head of household

4realheismine
01-22-2009, 12:10 AM
ok alot of you I see have many questions about taxes. The best thing I could say is get on the Texas site, go to texas general prison talk, then you will see one called income tax and there is a forum talking all about taxes. Instead of putting the same info there and here it would be easier if you go on there and alot of your questions will be answered and if not just ask and I am sure one of us will get your question answered. :)

monkeyseesall
01-22-2009, 09:12 AM
I am not 100% clear on this one yet. But everything I've read gives a few main points : #1 DO NOT SIGN HIS NAME. As said previously you can't sign someone else's name on a tax document unless you have Power of Attorney. Know that in some states the person who has Power of Atty can not be joined to the person financially. This means that there can not be any way for you to benefit financially from signing their name. This includes a tax refund.

#2 - If your spouse never lived with you for the entire year, you more than likely will qualify to file head of household if you have other children. You can not claim him as a dependent.

#3 - If your husband worked before he went to prison this year and will file taxes as well, you should file "Married, filing separately".

So, Monkeyseeall, yes you can file Married Filing Separately if he's going to file his own for the year. Did you talk to the IRS rep in detail and explain your situation?

My husband doesn't file for taxes on his own because after restitution he makes about 25.00 a month. I have POA and therefore I'm able to sign his name. When I called the IRS, I told the guy that my husband was in prison and wanted to know if I was able to file married jointly, he put me on hold for awhile and when he came back he said, yes. I called back again and got a lady, she told me that she couldn't find anything on it, so she put me on hold and when she came back she said, yes also.
Now, all of you have me worried because I was only doing what the IRS said I could. I'm Confused!:eek:

monkeyseesall
01-22-2009, 09:13 AM
ok alot of you I see have many questions about taxes. The best thing I could say is get on the Texas site, go to texas general prison talk, then you will see one called income tax and there is a forum talking all about taxes. Instead of putting the same info there and here it would be easier if you go on there and alot of your questions will be answered and if not just ask and I am sure one of us will get your question answered. :)

OH,I wasn't aware that this was Texas Tax Talk :D... I live in California.

PT ROSE
01-22-2009, 01:05 PM
It doesn't matter where you live, The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the same in every state. Filing State Taxes is Individual to each state.

Lipstick
01-22-2009, 07:12 PM
I called the IRS and talked to a guy for like an hour today, and he said legally I can file either Married/ Jointly or Married /Filling Seperate or I since he was gone for more than 6 months and I paid all the bills I could also file Head of Household... He said by federal law we are married, unless we have legally filed for a seperation. He did say I cant do the temp absences, bc incaration is not included in the terms....


BUT!!!!! Here's the kicker LADIES!!!!
He said STATE LAW MAY be different, that I would need to call the State Dept. to find out what the laws are for my STATE.... I didnt get a chance to call but will call State tomorrow and let you know..... Also he DID say that however you file in State should match how you file in Federal...

Check with your STATE about the LAWS!

Lipstick
01-22-2009, 07:16 PM
OH PS He said by Federal LAW you cant claim Unmarried if you were legal married. He asked if were were legally married on 1/31/08. Meaning not divorced,legally seperated ETC...... So then by Federal Law you are MARRIED

Lipstick
01-23-2009, 10:18 PM
Just an FYI ladies I called the State Controller for California and was told in the State of California you are considered legally married (regardless of his location) as long as you did not get a divorce or pending divorce, or someone died, or you have a LEGAL seperation, and in the state of Ca you can not claim HOH (head of household) if you are married, you can only file married/jointly or married/filling seperately....

He said as long as you were legally married, then you have every right to file jointly and income will be combined.......

Also he said the State does not file a tax return and the state does not 'claim' any inmates.

4realheismine
01-23-2009, 11:53 PM
OH,I wasn't aware that this was Texas Tax Talk :D... I live in California.


I didnt mean for it to sound like this was TX Tax Talk. I was giving this people another part of this wonderful website where we have been talking about federal taxes not state because if you are not aware TX does not state tax. I thought I was just being nice if you could not find the answer on here that maybe if they would like could go onto TX forum that is talking about the same stuff. :angry:

4realheismine
01-23-2009, 11:59 PM
Just an FYI ladies I called the State Controller for California and was told in the State of California you are considered legally married (regardless of his location) as long as you did not get a divorce or pending divorce, or someone died, or you have a LEGAL seperation, and in the state of Ca you can not claim HOH (head of household) if you are married, you can only file married/jointly or married/filling seperately....

He said as long as you were legally married, then you have every right to file jointly and income will be combined.......

Also he said the State does not file a tax return and the state does not 'claim' any inmates.

Yes you can claim HH in CA even if you are married. As long as you qualify for it federal then you can when filing CA. So who ever you call gave you wrong info because I looked on CA website and as long as you qualify for it you can and it has the same guidelines as Federal.

Impatient1
01-24-2009, 01:27 AM
I read every post in this thread and honestly, I am thoroughly confused. No offense to all who have tried to be helpful by posting information, but I'm thinking anyone, including myself, who has a tax issue or question ought to call the IRS or state tax agency themselves for clarification. I was married in July of 2008, have no idea how to file this year....we'll see!

Alex's Princess
01-24-2009, 10:38 AM
I do taxes at a tax office and work with the IRS handling audits during off season. Maybe some of the following will help. :)

If you are married, you may file jointly. You are legally married and have the legal right to do so.

You can also file married filing separately but that's not the way to go at all. 1. You have to mail your return. 2. You will lose your child credits.
The IRS frowns and discourages married couples to file apart so if you chose to do so, that penalty gets put in place. They want you to file jointly because that's how you should be doing it in the first place.

You "could" file head of household if you have a dependant. The option of filing head of head of household is meant for single parents or married couples with a dependant who have been separated the last 6 months of the year (with the intentions of remaining separated permanently)

Married filing jointly is always the better option because the standard deduction is $10,900 vs $8000 for someone who chooses Head of Household. Again you have the right to file Married Filing Jointly if you are legally married and whether you live together or not.
Even couples who have been divorced before the end of the year, many judges will give them the option to file their last years tax return together if they want to and it helps them and it's completely legal to do so.

The IRS follows the law of the court to determine your relationship.
You are either married or your not. You could be married, separated and living with your boyfriend, your spouse could be living with his girlfriend and you both still can file married filing jointly.
If you are legally married. That's what the IRS looks for.

Alex's Princess
01-24-2009, 11:48 AM
Someone pm'd me and asked me to help clarify head of household rules.
LOL so I'm here again. :)


Head of household -
Of course probably most of you know you may file head of houshold if you are single with a qualified dependant or married (but considered unmarried for tax purposes.

Again, if you are married you could file head of household IF you did NOT live with your spouse the last 6 months of the year.

If you lived with your spouse (even 1 day) anytime the last 6 months of the year, you do not qualify to file head of household.
I know that small print is not on the IRS website but as you read the guidelines, read it word for word. You have to have not lived together at anytime the last 6 months of the year. (and they calculated it to the exact date when questioning someone. Trust me)

Example 1: John and Paula are married. Has 2 kids. John moved out August 1st. Kids stayed with Paula. Paula CAN NOT file head of household. John still lived there within the last 6 months of the year.
They have 2 choices. They file married filing jointly or married filing separate. THAT'S IT.

Example 2: John and Paula are married. Has 2 kids. John moved out in February. Kids stayed with Paula. NOW Paula can file head of household because she qualifies as being unmarried for tax purposes because both her and John did not live together the last 6 months of the year.

Example 3: (way out there but I'll put it anyways lol :D) John and Paula have been having problems all year. He drinks so she kicks him out every weekend and he goes to his mom's until they make up. Even though lol they probably have been separated 6 months (or more) total, NO ONE can file head of household. They can only file married filing joint or married filing separate. THAT'S IT.

So if anyone is filing head of household you also have to make sure you qualify for it.
There's so many rules and exceptions to the rules it's impossible to put down for everyone's scenerio. Everyone is completely different.
But those are the utmost basics that I hope I helped some with that I can post. :)

Faith & God
01-24-2009, 04:32 PM
Hi all, i file my taxes married jointly ..I have a Power Of Att. So i can claim my husband .Now i'm talking about Texas. On his employment i write incarcerated.Being doing it for years and nothikng has came up as of yet...

Gorilla'sWife
01-24-2009, 05:34 PM
When I filed...I claimed that my husband has not lived with me and actually had to provide his address....he had no income, but I do know it asks if you have income while being incarcerated...my understanding is that income is income and it doesn't matter who earns it you have to claim it. You may owe tax if the state doesn't take it out of their pay....but it clearly asks about income while incarcerated and his address....no problems with filing married joint!!

Lipstick
01-24-2009, 08:59 PM
Someone pm'd me and asked me to help clarify head of household rules.
LOL so I'm here again. :)


Head of household -
Of course probably most of you know you may file head of houshold if you are single with a qualified dependant or married (but considered unmarried for tax purposes.

:)

Thats pretty much how the tax guy explained it to me, But for state adding in just because he is in prison, you are still legally married which would mean that you are not unmarried....
To be unmarried, it would have to be a legal seperation, or a divorce is pending final paperwork. He said it doesnt matter where he lives (like you said in the example living with another person) if they are legally married, then there married.

Alex's Princess
01-25-2009, 09:18 AM
Thats pretty much how the tax guy explained it to me, But for state adding in just because he is in prison, you are still legally married which would mean that you are not unmarried....
To be unmarried, it would have to be a legal seperation, or a divorce is pending final paperwork. He said it doesnt matter where he lives (like you said in the example living with another person) if they are legally married, then there married.


Correct. For state you may have further options of filing a different status if you qualify that may be to your advantage.

Usually state just follows federal. (If you file head of household for federal, you do the same for state) but you may have to file differently if you fall under certain guidelines. It's very important that your tax professional understands the different categories especially when doing different states. Again there's so many different rules for each state and everyone's case is different.

Best advice I "can" give to everyone is if you don't have a specific tax person you go to, don't be afraid to ask your tax person LOTS of questions before they even start your return! (How long have they've been doing taxes, what's their expertise, do they take yearly updated classes, are they aware of the new changes, etc)

I have quite a bit of experience with both the tax office and IRS and even accountants.
It's not all about certification it's about if they are point blank "good at what they do".
I've been to audits where I'm waiting with the client for 30 minutes in a room while the IRS agent is "looking" up a general tax law because I'm challenging their letter and the IRS person is looking up a basic, basic tax law (very scary), I've corrected returns that someone paid $1000 to an accountant who wasn't aware that the taxpayer could take certain credits which led to shortchanging them of lots of $, and I've had people that pays someone $50 to do them on the side and then are audited because they did stuff they shouldn't have. :(
Not 1 person has the capability of memorizing every single tax law. It's impossible. But all tax professionals should have the knowledge to do the proper research in obtaining the correct answer to complete your return.
Again, ask lots of questions and if you don't understand something, make sure they explain it to you until you do. :)

Brent's Babe
01-25-2009, 09:31 AM
File online @ taxact.com then you don't have to sign anyones name you just type it in the box. I filed my taxes and they were accepted by the IRS in less than 24 hrs

Alex's Princess
01-25-2009, 10:23 AM
File online @ taxact.com then you don't have to sign anyones name you just type it in the box. I filed my taxes and they were accepted by the IRS in less than 24 hrs

I LOVE taxact!! :thumbsup:
Way cheaper than other programs and not so complicated. :)

Lipstick
01-26-2009, 02:48 PM
I use Turbo Tax... Federal cost 14.95 to file and state was 30.00.. I did my taxes Sat night and got an email at 5:30 am stating the IRS has accepted my return and ETA on my refund is 2/6 :) 3 days after hubby come home :) So we can celebrate in STYLE

monkeyseesall
01-26-2009, 08:15 PM
I didnt mean for it to sound like this was TX Tax Talk. I was giving this people another part of this wonderful website where we have been talking about federal taxes not state because if you are not aware TX does not state tax. I thought I was just being nice if you could not find the answer on here that maybe if they would like could go onto TX forum that is talking about the same stuff. :angry:

Well, I hope you didn't think I was being snotty from the mad face you gave. I honestly thought I was in the wrong forum and didn't want to comment if Texas laws were different.

mechiswifey
01-26-2009, 08:38 PM
My husband and I have been married for almost 6yrs and every year I file Married filing seperatley since we are not in the same household. Like everyone else said just make sure you are not committing fraud. Good Luck