Can the IRS force me to file “Married Filling Separately”if I previously filedjoint return even though there is no actual marriage?

I had filed jointly with the father of my children in 2005/2006, and the return was audited for those years. They say we owed $80K additional. We were not actually married, just living together with shared expenses so it seemed like the way to go. After the $80K audit result, I filed separately in 2007 and 2008. The status was single in 2007 and head of household in 2008 (I pay the vast majority of the bills). The IRS also audited 2007/2008 and has changed my status to married filing separately, in spite of an affidavit we both signed saying we are/were not married. Can they do that?

Asked on July 21, 2010 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I would say that you have good case to speak with a Tax Attorney and I would do so as soon as possible.  The IRS can not have it both ways: you are either considered married for the purposes of filing taxes or not married.  What did they change your status to after the 2005/2006 audit?  Married or not? Whatever they have determined your status to be they can not change it to benefit themselves and to your detriment.  But indeed they will try.  So go and see a professional. Good luck.


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