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MFJ - what can I provide to each?


Lion EA
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Some quick help needed; please point me in the right direction.

DIL has been having me upload returns to my portal for the last 10 days, supposedly needed for Medicaid. Yesterday she served my son with divorce papers and gave him until the end of the week to clear out of the house. I'm sure he has no idea where tax returns are.

Partnership: DIL 51%, son 49%; DIL PR/partnership representative or whatever the new name is for TMP/tax matters partner. Can I give my son copies of the partnership IRS, NY, and PA returns without DIL's permission?

Joint returns: can I give my son copies of their joint IRS, NY, and PA returns without DIL's permission?

I've been preparing their tax returns FREE for years. What do I need to know now that they're divorcing?

Obviously, they'll be MFS for 2022. I would prepare my son's MFS return but not DIL's, right? What about the partnership, IF she wants me to prepare the 2022 Form 1065.

There are two granddaughters we haven't seen since last Christmas, because DIL told us that our son acts out when we visit. We'd like to support granddaughters. We don't want to upset DIL and make seeing our granddaughters impossible or unpleasant.

I'm not getting any work done! Son is texting me, saying he's in a dark place. Of course, no way to find a lawyer until his day off Wednesday. Most lawyers in the boonies of PA are customers of the Inn owned by DIL's mother, so not likely to take on my son as a client. I have such a headache!

Thanks all for letting me vent...

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I would say that each is entitled to a copy of the individual returns for any year that was filed MFJ because each was a party to the return. I'd mask the SSNs just so that they can't point to the other and say that personal information was disclosed improperly even though they probably each already have that for the other. If you aren't giving backup supporting documents, I think it would be ok to print detailed schedules that the program generates.

For the partnership, since the son's is a minority interest, you may feel that he can't have a copy of the complete return and only should receive the K-1s and other information pertaining to his capital investment (add'l contribs, distributions, payouts, etc) if that isn't specifically addressed in the partnership agreement (if there is one), but if he is a general partner I believe he still has the right to receive the entire return under code sec 6103 without including the DILs K-1s or anything pertaining to her.  See the article below that has a good summary of the issue and has references to the code:

https://www.taxlawforchb.com/2018/03/the-closely-held-business-the-minority-owner-accessing-information-from-the-entitys-tax-return/

I'm interested to hear others' opinions on this as well.

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Sorry for the issue, and best wishes for all going forward.

Without research, and based only on my experiences, keep it simple.

For both, copies of all pertinent data, scrubbed if desired, and a note of no further services.  If you have already provided the latest info, then stop providing more, such as providing copies.  They can get their own from the tax agencies. Unless your service agreement provides you are their file cabinet and you agreed to provide copies on demand when they did not keep/manage their own.

Why no further services for either?  Grandchildren.  If you take any side, other than the grandchildren's, you and the grandchildren will lose.  There is no way to not take a side if you continue to offer services for either.

The parents are adults, and do not "need" you.  Your grandchildren do need you, especially now.

The BEST thing for the grandchildren is, even if you must be the one, suggest/setup one of the "communication" services/apps which many family courts suggest/require.  Grandparents can be looped in as well.  The logging aspect helps prevent communication errors, omissions, and reduces conflicts.

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Take a look at IRC Sect 6103.  For joint returns, both spouses are entitled to copies of the joint individual tax return.  For the partnership, Section 61403(e)(1)(C) states copies can be provided to:

in the case of the return of a partnership, any person who was a member of such partnership during any part of the period covered by the return;

There is a later section that states the requesting partner cannot get the parts of the 1065 that relate to the other partners, e.g., K-1s.  If their info is listed within the body of the 1065, white it out before copying.

So you can provide either or both with copies of their 1040 and 1065. 

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Oh Lion, you and your son have much sympathy from me and from all of us here!  What others have said is correct; he can have copies of all joint returns, plus partnership returns if he is general partner. 

Medlin had a great suggestion as to "no further services for either" although it may be hard to tell that to your son.  His wife likely expects that you will continue to do returns for him, and may be smug and self-satisfied if she hears (as she will; usually when child support is required it comes with an obligation to provide return copies, and she'll see another preparer's name) and if she's vicious she may try to use that as "I'm right and even your mother agrees since she won't do your returns either." So you may want to discuss this with your son (later; he has other priorities now) and send each a letter stating you will provide no more copies, nor work on returns for either of them, and your only involvement will be with the grandchildren. If she is not vicious, it may be possible in future to go back to doing returns for him. 

Good luck to your son in finding a really good divorce lawyer. Sounds like he will need one.

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41-year-old son spent yesterday in bed (wife moved their daughters to her mother's) "in a dark place" which I find frightening, because he always, always paints a rosier-than-reality picture to me.

I know some of you are in PA. All recommendations for divorce lawyers are gratefully accepted. Son is in a sparsely populated area in the Moosic mountains in the NE corner of PA where the closest town is across the border, Hancock, NY. He's about half-way between Scranton, PA, and Binghamton, NY. A PA family law attorney is needed quickly.

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With the courts offering electronic filing and video appearance, no need to limit to a local JD office.  Maybe a wider search within the state.  A big office which also has accountants and counselor references?

Look at the state bar web site, for specialty listings.  Find a few, and see who responds timely, and how they respond.  I really wanted to use a certain office for a certain specialty, but they were glacial in response time, even through their app messaging system.

Another method is to find someone via friends or other references, and ask them for a reference near your son.

Also, the local legal aid office should have references, or a sliding scale service for the items which need to be done sooner, where specialty may not be needed.  The local family court likely has a web site with good information, such as their particular process.  Much of the starting stuff can be self done, or with a legal secretary or similar, reviewing before submission.

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