What if I don’t have contact with my estranged spouse,

do we still have to file jointly to get the tax subsidies?

If you were married at the end of the year, generally you must file a joint return. However, filing a separate return from your spouse will not disqualify you from being an applicable taxpayer if you meet certain requirements described under Married tax-payers , later.

(b) Taxpayer and spouse  – An exemption of the exemption amount for the taxpayer; and an additional exemption of the exemption amount for the spouse of the taxpayer if a joint return is not made by the taxpayer and his spouse, and if the spouse, for the calendar year in which the taxable year of the taxpayer begins, has no gross income and is not the dependent of another taxpayer.

To be more clear  —

(2) Married taxpayers must file joint return. A taxpayer who is married (within the meaning of section 7703) at the close of the taxable year is an applicable taxpayer only if the taxpayer and the taxpayer’s spouse file a joint return for the taxable year. GPO.Gov Final Regulations Page 11  *   Turbo Tax Calculator    Tax Policy Center…..  Joint or separate?

Married taxpayers.
If you are considered married for federal income tax purposes, you must file a joint return with your spouse to take the Premium Tax Credit – PTC unless one of the two exceptions below applies to you.    If Exception 1 applies, you can file a return using head of household or single filing status and take the PTC. If Exception 2 applies, you are treated as married but can take the PTC with the filing status of married filing separately.
You are not considered married for federal income tax purposes if you are divorced or legally separatedCA Courts * Definition San Francisco Court * Divorce Attorney Website * according to your state law under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance. In that case, you cannot file a joint return but may be able to take the PTC on your separate return.   See Pub. 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.

Exception 1—Certain married persons living apart.

You may file your return as if you are unmarried and take the PTC if one of the following applies to you.

  • You file a separate return from your spouse on Form 1040 or Form 1040A because you meet the requirements for Married persons who live apart under Head of Household in the instructions for Form 1040 or Form 1040A.
  • You file as single on your Form 1040NR because you meet the requirements for Married persons who live apart under Were You Single or Married? in the instructions for Form 1040NR.


Exception 2—Victim of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment, you can file a return as married filing separately and take the PTC if all of the following apply to you.

  • You are living apart from your spouse at the time you file your 2016 tax return.
  • You are unable to file a joint return because you are a victim of domestic abuse (described next) or spousal abandonment (described below).
  • You check the box on your Form 8962 to certify that you are a victim of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment.
Domestic abuse.   Domestic abuse includes physical, psychological, sexual, or emotional abuse, including efforts to control, isolate, humiliate, and intimidate, or to undermine the victim’s ability to reason independently. All the facts and circumstances are considered in determining whether an individual is abused, including the effects of alcohol or drug abuse by the victim’s spouse. Depending on the facts and circumstances, abuse of an individual’s child or other family member living in the household may constitute abuse of the individual.
Spousal abandonment.   A taxpayer is a victim of spousal abandonment for a tax year if, taking into account all facts and circumstances, the taxpayer is unable to locate his or her spouse after reasonable diligence.

Records of domestic abuse and spousal abandonment.   If you checked the box in the upper right corner of Form 8962 indicating that you are eligible for the PTC despite having a filing status of married filing separately, you should keep records relating to your situation, like with all aspects of your tax return. What you have available may depend on your circumstances. However, the following list provides some examples of records that may be useful. (Do not attach these records to your tax return.)

  • Protective and/or restraining order.
  • Police report.
  • Doctor’s report or letter.
  • A statement from someone who was aware of, or who witnessed, the abuse or the results of the abuse. The statement should be notarized if possible.
  • A statement from someone who knows of the abandonment. The statement should be notarized if possible.


Married filing separately.
If you file as married filing separately and are not a victim of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment (see Exception 2—Victim of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment under Married taxpayers above), then you are not an applicable taxpayer and you cannot take the PTC. You generally must repay all of the APTC paid for a qualified health plan that covered only individuals in your tax family. If the policy also covered at least one individual in your spouse’s tax family, you generally must repay half of the APTC paid for the policy. See Line 9, in the Form 8962 instructions. However, the amount of APTC you have to repay may be limited. See Line 28, in the Form 8962 instructions.  * IRS Publication 974 Page 7Instructions 8962 *
. Legal Separation
A legal separation does not end a marriage or domestic partnership. You cannot marry or enter into a partnership with someone else if you are legally separated (and not divorced). A legal separation is for couples that do not want to get divorced but want to live apart and decide on money, property, and parenting issues. Couples sometimes prefer separation for religious reasons. San Francisco Superior Court
Health Care.gov says you don’t have to include a legally separated spouse!

Modified Adjusted Gross Income Definition – Line 37* 1040

1040 Instructions

VITA free-tax-return-preparation-for-you-by-volunteers

Anchors  married

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4 comments on “Estranged or Separated Spouse?

    • a Los Angeles family court judge ruled that a woman had violated state asset disclosure laws because she neglected to reveal she had won $1.3 million in the California state lottery . . . just 11 days before she filed for divorce!

      According to the Los Angeles Times, the judge in this case determined that the wife had acted out of fraud or malice, and as a result, he awarded all of the winnings to the ex-husband. Forbes.com *

      hiding assets, income and debt is not only unethical; it’s also illegal and subject to severe penalties IF discovered. forbes.com *

      contempt of court or criminal charges for fraud or perjury.

      An investigator or forensic accountant can thoroughly examine income tax returns, public records and bill statements. Your attorney can submit questions to your spouse, through written interrogatories and oral depositions, in an attempt to find hidden assets. However, as a “The New York Times” article notes, although your suspicions might be justified, it’s “what you can prove that counts.”

      a husband who repeatedly failed to produce current financial statements so angered the judge that he allocated 90 percent of the marital assets to the wife.

      Depending on the laws of your state, if you refuse to disclose assets or information requested by the court, you might be held in contempt of court, a misdemeanor which can result in fines or even jail time. If you lie about your assets in court, you might be charged with perjury for testifying falsely under oath. In California, for example, you can serve up to four years in jail for perjury. You might be charged with fraud, a criminal act, if a prosecutor decides to charge you with deceiving the other party by hiding assets. Penalties include restitution and jail time. legal zoom *


      17 Ways to Really Piss Your Spouse Off During Your Divorce

      Allowing your attorney to needlessly slander your spouse: Some lawyers can get out of control and it’s your job to stop them.

      Forcing your children to accept your lover (or any new partner) before they’ve had time to emotionally process the divorce: This one is especially self-serving. Psychology Today *

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