Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Late Returns, Late Wife

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Late Returns, Late Wife

Article excerpt

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana held that a taxpayer could use the married filing jointly status on delinquent tax returns for the five tax years preceding the year his spouse had died. The government unsuccessfully argued that joint status was available only for the year of his spouse's death.

Generally, a husband and wife may elect to file a joint tax return if they have the same tax year and both are U.S citizens or residents. If one spouse dies, section 6013(a)(3) allows the surviving spouse to file a joint return with the deceased spouse if no return has been filed for the taxable year by the deceased spouse, no executor has been appointed, and no executor is appointed before the last day a return can be filed by the surviving spouse. Treas. Reg. [section] 1.60131(d)(3) provides an example where a surviving spouse could file a joint return for 1956 and 1957 as long as the death of the other spouse in 1957 occurred before the due date of the 1956 return, assuming the other conditions of section 6013(a)(3) were met.

Donald Vidalier and his wife did not file income tax returns for the years 2000 through 2005. Vidalier's wife died on Dec. 12, 2005, and after filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition in 2006, Vidalier filed delinquent joint returns for all years. The IRS permitted the joint status for 2005 but not for the other years and adjusted his bankruptcy liabilities based on the married filing separately status. …

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