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How many times can a client amend taxes to amend Filing Status?

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Client first filled as HOH, then she amended to file as single, now she comes to me to say he was really married and needs to file married filing jointly as her daughter is applying for fafsa and they advised she needs to file correctly to make 2019 (married filing joint).  Can she file her 3rd 1040X?

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Yes, but...

Does her spouse agree with amending to MFJ? If not, then your client cannot file MFJ.

If he does agree, you will need both sets of returns. And, both spouses need to sign the amendments.

By the way, if she was married 31 December 2019, then her only legal 2019 filing statuses are MFS and MFJ -- and possibly HOH, if she qualified.

Did you file her previous returns as HOH and S? When you sign an amended return, you are attesting to its contents. How long has this woman been your client? Be very careful with a client who filed HOH and amended to S and now wants to amend to MFJ. If she "forgot" to tell you she was married, what else is she not telling you?! 

Your potential problem is much greater than how many times a client can amend a return.

(If this woman came to me, I would interview her but probably NOT accept her as a client. My license is too important to me.)

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Theoretically, there is no limit to the number of times a return can be amended, but, bear in mind, the IRS does not have to accept an amended return.  

The safest way to go is to have hubby amend His return to include her.



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I can think of numerous times when I interviewed potential clients, declined to do their work, and the conversation ended with an effort by them to clarify precisely what the problem was.  I assumed they were preparing for what to tell (or not tell) the next preparer they approached.  On the other hand, it's usually fairly easy to sniff out when someone comes to you with a scripted story because they've been through the routine with the last person who declined to do their work.  Maybe that just comes with experience.

But my most reliable tactic has always been to suggest to a potential new client that we put the return on extension (even if early in the tax season).  This is especially true in unusual or ambiguous situations.  The more they get in a hurry, the more I want to slow-walk the process. That usually solves the problem  (for me, although maybe not for the next preparer)

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