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If two taxpayers filed a Married Filing Joint (MFJ) return that was accepted by the IRS, and want to complete amended returns to change the filing status to "Married Filing Separate" (MFS), please note the following:

  • You cannot change from MFJ to MFS after the due date, May 17, 2021, per the IRS instructions on Form 1040-X Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
  • If you have a refund on the joint return, you should generally wait until you receive the refund before amending the return.
  • If you itemize on one return, you will need to itemize on the other separate return.
  • Some deductions and credits are limited on separate returns, such as the amount of deductible IRA contributions, education credits, etc.
  • Call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for questions you may have on amending the return.
  • For additional information, see the IRS Topic No. 308 Amended Returns.

To complete the amendment:

  1. Locate a copy of your originally-filed MFJ return. If you didn’t print or save your return when you e-filed, you will need to obtain a copy from the IRS or your state tax agency.
  2. Start two new returns and enter the data for each taxpayer in the program - we recommend creating two new TaxAct accounts in addition to the original account. You will need to determine what data to enter for each return, such as which taxpayer will claim which of the dependents.
  3. Review your returns and determine what corrections you need to make.
  4. Return to the Q&A interview and modify, add, or delete the information that needs amending. Make a note of each item you are changing and the reason for each change as you will need these notes to complete the amendment.
  5. Print each of the separate returns, and carefully compare each of them with the joint return.

The person with the primary social security number on the original return will need to complete Form 1040-X and select "Married Filing Separate" for the filing status. In Part III of Form 1040-X, explain the line number for each item you are changing and the reason for each change.

The person with the secondary social security number on the original return will need to file a new return with a filing status of "Married Filing Separate," and mail this return to the IRS.

Related Links

Note that any link in the information above is updated each year automatically and will take you to the most recent version of the document at the time it is accessed.


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