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7 Answers

Disabled spouse and taxes?

Asked by: jmlcpl 575 views YA Discussion

My husband and I have been married for 10 years. We have been separated for nearly all of that time – I have never filed married – always head of household. In the 13 years that I have known him, he has never filed taxes but has never made more than 20K/year. He is now permanently disabled (for the past three years) and we are residing together so clearly I provide more than 50% of his care. He received a couple of years ago a tax inquiry that requested proof of his disability to negate what he owed but I believe that was at the county level. Is it smart for me to suddenly claimed married filing jointly with him as a dependent since clearly our budget is already taking a ridiculous hit with his illness and care. His current yearly income on SSDi is $ 9,108/year and this year I have made under $ 10k due to unemployment and caring for him and our two elementary school aged children. We live in Virginia.

How others found here:

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7 Answers



  1. A Hunch on Oct 31, 2012 Reply

    Unless you were legally separated, you are not eligible to file Head of Household. If you are married and not living together but not separated through the courts, your options for filing are married filing jointly or married filing single.
    = you will need to amend the tax returns if they are incorrect.
    = you will need to file married filing joint to get the EIC.

    This year it does not matter if you are filing married jointly or married single. You should have no tax liability either way. if you have any earned income, you might get a EIC credit if you file Married – joint.

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  2. Bash Limpbutt's Oozing Cyst© on Nov 01, 2012 Reply

    A spouse is NEVER a dependent. You can always file Married Filing Jointly and will claim 2 personal exemptions on that return but it’s not the same as claiming a spouse as a dependent.

    You cannot file as HoH if you lived with your spouse for even one day in the last 6 months of the year. Hopefully he has not been living in your home when you filed HoH. If he did, you must amend to Married Filing Separately or Married Filing Jointly for those years.

    Contrary to one uninformed response, you don’t need a legal separation to file as HoH. You would need one to file as Single, but the instant that you move back in together the legal separation dies and you must revert to MFS or MFJ.

    If you file a joint return and he owes the IRS or state income taxes, any refund can be offset to pay off what he owes. You might be able to protect your share of any refund using Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation. The amount protected will depend upon your state’s laws.

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  3. tro on Nov 01, 2012 Reply

    obviously you are still legally married and especially living together your status is married and filing jointly is more beneficial
    filing married separately disallows the EIC which is probably a good portion of any refund
    your husband has a real problem with his negligence in filing, and this is now on your shoulders as well
    you would be wise to file your 2012 as your status indicates

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  4. acmeraven on Nov 01, 2012 Reply

    You should really consider a sit down prayer meeting with a licensed & registered tax preparer to straighten out this “my neighbor said” and “they said” situation that has been generated. Unless you have some grounding in taxes you are just going to dig a deeper hole.

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  5. Judy on Nov 01, 2012 Reply

    You can file as married filing jointly for this year without causing yourself a problem. Actually it’s not clear that you are providing over half, since it sounds like his SSDI (even though it won’t be taxed) is close to your earnings – but it doesn’t matter if you file a joint return.

    If you got unemployment benefits, you do know that that’s taxable income to you?

    Filing HofH in the past was OK as long as you were providing a household for the kids, and didn’t live with him at all in the 2nd half of the year you were filing for. When did you move back together? If before this year, you’d have to amend years you were together anytime in the 2nd half of the year if you filed as HofH, and HofH is not an option for you for 2012. A joint return will be as good or better anyway though.

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  6. chatsplas on Nov 01, 2012 Reply

    If you and hubby did NOT cohabit, and you had dependents living with you, you could have been legally qualified to file as HOH in past
    But when did you move in together? You may need to amend past year’s returns–back 3 years
    Being married, even if NOT living together, normally you can file ONLY MFJ or MFS
    But with dependent children living with you and NO cohabitation, there is an exception
    If hubby’s income was solely SSI, he was receiving welfare, and had NO obligation to file a tax return, but that’s usually not $ 20K;
    If hubby’s income was solely SSDI, he had NO obligation to file a tax return; but if he had investment income or worked part-time, he may have obligation to file and even to pay tax
    Hubby may have had legal obligation to file a tax return and failed, and may have had tax liability (or maybe due a refund).
    Being married and cohabiting means YOUR choice is to file ONLY MFJ or MFS, no HOH
    Filing jointly, you benefit of both your and hubby’s exemptions
    NOT at all clear that YOU are providing MORE than half the household costs, but filing MFJ, that’s NOT an issue. . . . both your wages and unemployment compensation ARE taxable, although his income may or may not be taxed
    SSI is supplemental security disability, which is welfare, and nontaxable while SSDI is social security disability based on an eligible # of quarters worked and insurance payments in. SSI is nontaxable, while SSDI may be taxed, particularly when there is additional income from other sources

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  7. Pascal the Gambler on Nov 01, 2012 Reply

    You file jointly, never with him as a dependent. It is entirely possible that all of your past HoH filings were illegal.

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