Tax Court Did Not Consider To Be A Valid Return

In Reifler, TC Memo 2015-199TC Memo 2015-199, the Tax Court recently held that a joint return not signed by the wife was not a valid return and, as a result, imposed the failure-to-file penalty. In so doing, it rejected the taxpayer’s arguments that the return was valid either because it substantially complied with the valid return rules or because the wife intended to file a joint return and tacitly consented to the filing of a joint return.

Signatures on a tax return not only verify that a return has indeed been filed by the person indicated on the front page of a Form 1040 but also certify that all the statements in the tax return are made under penalty of perjury and are true, correct, and complete to the best of Read More

You are entitled to one personal exemption for yourself, one for your spouse (if filing a joint return), and one exemption for each dependent that you claim on your tax return. The exemption amounts are generally increased year by year, as adjusted for inflation, and the amount for tax year 2014 is $3,950 ($4,000 for tax year 2015). Three critical tests, however, must be met before you can claim someone as a dependent.

1. The Dependent Taxpayer Test

If you could be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer, you cannot claim anyone as a dependent on your tax return. This is true even if you have a qualifying child or qualifying relative. Also, if you file a joint return with your spouse, and can be claimed as a dependent by someone else, you and your spouse cannot claim anyone as a dependent Read More

Surviving spouses receive the same standard deduction and tax rates as taxpayers who are filing Married Filing Jointly. In the year of your spouse’s death, if you do not remarry, you can file a joint return with your deceased spouse. For the following two years, you can use the Qualifying Widow/Widower with Dependent Child filing status, if you have a dependent child living with you. After two years, if you have not remarried, you must change your filing status to either Single or Head of Household, depending on your circumstances.

You can consider the Qualifying Widow(er) filing status if you are a widow(er) and:

• You could have filed a joint return with your spouse for the year your spouse died.
• Your spouse died in either of the two tax years preceding this current year. Read More

It would seem that the issue of whether a person can be a dependent on your 1040 would be a fairly simple issue.  However, that is not the case.  The IRS has some very precise rules regarding who may be claimed as a dependent and the circumstances under which they may be claimed.

The first test that must be met for any person to be claimed as a dependent is the citizenship or resident test.  This test simply states that the person being claimed as a dependent must be a United States citizen or a resident of the United States, Canada, or Mexico for some part of the year.  A non-resident may not be claimed as a dependent regardless of the support you provide or your relationship to that person. Read More