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### Current Situation: Divorce with Tax Issues

My wife and I are currently going through a divorce, though we still live together. The divorce paperwork was filed at the beginning of this year. Throughout our marriage, we have been using the same TurboTax account to file our taxes. For a while, my wife handled the tax preparation, but in recent years, I took over as I started a new business.

This year, I debated whether to file our taxes separately or jointly (in hindsight, I should have opted for separate filings). Ultimately, I decided to file jointly due to concerns about how it would impact my wife if I filed separately. She was involved in the entire process and provided me with all the necessary tax documentation to enter into the system. However, we encountered an issue when it came to dividing the tax refund. Despite working on it until late at night, we couldn’t reach an agreement. I then received verbal permission from her to file, as she wasn’t home to discuss it further. Lacking her banking information, I entered my own details, assuming we could sort it out later, given that we have separate accounts.

The situation took a turn late at night when my wife, frustrated with our inability to resolve the refund distribution, claimed that she had never given me permission to file jointly. She argued that the TurboTax account I used belonged to her and went as far as contacting Intuit to launch a fraudulent claim against me, a discovery I made the following morning.

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### Exploring Available Options

Given the circumstances, it is crucial to explore all available options to address the issues at hand. While the immediate concern may be the distribution of the tax refund, it is essential to also consider the potential legal repercussions of the situation. Collaborating with a legal professional to assess the situation and strategize a response may be wise. It may be necessary to seek the advice of a lawyer to understand the potential implications of the claim made by your wife and how best to protect yourself moving forward.

### Conclusion

Navigating a divorce while dealing with tax-related disputes can be a challenging and stressful experience. Seeking legal counsel and utilizing tools like the AI Legalese Decoder can help clarify the legal complexities involved and guide you towards a resolution that protects your interests. Remember that communication and cooperation with your spouse, even in the midst of disagreements, can often lead to more amicable outcomes.

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View Reference


  • many_meats

    It sounds like she opened the claim through Intuit and not the IRS, so, that’s good but you’re going to be subject to their process and not really a traditionally “legal” one. With those terms, I am not sure how much use this subreddit will be.

    Ensure you have printed copies of any communications between yourself and your pending-ex, and you should strongly consider not discuss this with her any further except in a written fashion, if at all.

    Someone who would scream fraud to the tax man is not your friend.

  • MavSeven

    You should talk to your divorce attorney ASAP about the latest developments. They will advise you on how best to proceed from here.

    >The issue came in the distribution of the refund. We haven’t been able to agree.

    Your lawyer will likely advise you to give her at least 50% of the refund. Witholding access to liquid assets during a divorce is frowned upon.

  • Plodding_Mediocrity

    Is your refund really that much that you can’t just split it 50/50 and walk away? Going to Court or even just paying your lawyer to weigh in on this is going to quickly eat up whatever extra portion of the refund you might claim to be entitled to.

  • Mr1854

    It sounds like (1) your joint return is generating a refund and (2) her issue is really around how the refund will be split and not necessarily that she had an issue with the joint return or you filing. Is that right? How much is the refund and how did you propose splitting it? The TurboTax fraud process and any IRS dispute or legal process is likely going to be long and messy and hold up the refund. If you think you could reach a written agreement with her on the refund split that could get her to stop the fraud claims, that may be preferable. You should be able to mock up two married filing separately returns to show exactly what each of you would have paid/received if filing separately and can use that as a reference point.

    Do you have a divorce lawyer? This may be something to discuss with them.

    It’s too late now but for the benefit of anyone reading this in the future, you can very easily file an automatic extension request and get until October 15. I would not have rushed to file something with the uncertainty by April 15. (I know this is unhelpful to you now.)

  • winoalbino

    CPA here – You cannot amend your tax return to change from joint to separate. Just so you know since I see a lot of people are telling you to do this.

  • drewyorker

    I’m not a lawyer but I am a tax accountant. I have a couple of thoughts here.

    1. She claims she didn’t give you permission to file jointly. OK. So did she file her own tax return on time? (I’ll assume no). So she has you to thank for being the one on top of things and filing on time so she doesn’t incur penalties and interest. IMO it is bold of her to claim she wasn’t fully aware you’d be filing jointly without her being able to show she was prepared to file on her own.

    2. I see elsewhere you said the refund is $7k and that you have offered a 50/50 and even 60/40 split with radio silence. A lot to unpack here, it personally sounds to me like she wants to use this and make it a bigger issue for other reasons. THAT ASIDE, her threats are hollow. You have offered to give her her half. If she for some reason thinks she would have received a bigger refund if she filed on her own, therefore she wants more, then I revert you back to #1 – How does she know? And anyway, it’s unlikely it would be significant and sounds like you’re willing to give her more than half anyway.

    Bottom line. Sounds like divorce games and I wouldn’t worry. Keep all your correspondence cordial and show you are trying your best to be reasonable.

  • jadnich

    I’m pretty sure you can file a correction. Just request to refile and do it separately.

  • Internet_Ghost

    Do you have any kind of order from the court stating out you were to file taxes?

  • ComposerConsistent83

    If you’re going through a divorce… won’t the tax return just be part of the assets that need to be divided up? Don’t spend the money and it’s something your lawyers can argue about and bill more money to both of you than you even got in the return 😉

  • enki941

    Another thing to keep in mind, which I don’t see mentioned as I skim through the replies, is that you both may be looking at this tax refund incorrectly. If you are getting a refund, it just means that one or both of you overpaid your taxes throughout the year. While there are going to be a LOT of variables in regards to what is “fair”, since your taxable income is dependent on many personal factors (wages, healthcare deductions, 401k deductions, etc.) combined with how you were handling family/household expenses, just because you got a hypothetical $1000 refund doesn’t mean you each overpaid by $500 and it should be a 50/50 split. If you each made $50,000 for a combined $100k taxable income and your TOTAL TAXES were say $20k and you paid $15k towards that through withheld payroll taxes and she paid $10k, that $5k overpayment was from your money. Similarly if she overpaid, that refund is from her overpayment. Or it could be a combined amount that would need to be split.

    Honestly, given the fact that you were going through a divorce, your best course of action would have been to file separately, but that ship has sailed. You could run the numbers for what the refund or amount owed would be if you had filed separately and use that as the basis, but that may not really be ‘fair’ given how intertwined things could have been.

    As others have said, if this amount is negligible, you may just want to give it to her and be done with everything and move on with your life.

  • Flat_Ad_6901

    Have her go through your lawyer going forward. The IRS is not communicating with her like she says they are no way. Separation & divorce documents don’t come into play like that.

    Get a PO Box so she no longer has access to your mail and packages.

    Update all addresses to include work to that address.

    – edit
    Let your lawyer know she keeps throwing out you are a federal employee around… she is trying to take your career and livelihood

  • gettinschwifty78

    If it’s just the refund distribution being disputed, then I don’t see why you couldn’t negotiate that as part of the divorce proceedings. (Not a lawyer)

  • frozenthorn

    It’s probably obvious now but get everything in writing or on video once you decide to go through a divorce proceeding. Not everyone has the best intentions, You want to get everything documented so it can’t be disputed or used against you later.

  • PM-Me-Your-BeesKnees

    So the taxes were filed in a timely way, they were filed in the exact same way as they were in previous years (MFJ), and she’s upset about the proportion in which it’s being distributed? I’m reading between the lines, but I gather you probably outearn her significantly and therefore likely deserve some greater percentage of the refund?

    My advice would be to just give her 50/50 as that’s an unarguably fair starting point for distribution of a liquid asset while the divorce is in process, and keep good records so that if you’re entitled to significantly more than the 50/50 split, you can make it up on the back end when the assets are being divided. You might have a point about deserving more of it than 50/50, but it’s not worth fighting over when the divorce itself will provide you a fair way to get back what you deserve, and dividing it up perfectly equally will go to show that you are not playing games with her finances.

    If you are due more than that, you’ll have a chance to get it back from retirement funds, the equity in the house, or something else as the divorce settlement comes to a conclusion.

  • solatesosorry

    Is this the hill worth dying on? Sometimes it’s just easier to say “you’re right” and walk away.

    Without admitting guilt, apologize, file a 1040x (amended return) going from joint to separate, and if she’s screwed as you said she would be, it’s on her.

    Of course in the future, everything in writing.

  • SoftTopCricket

    File together, split it 50/50. Try to think of what you would do it you still loved each other.

  • Worldly-Purpose-9336

    Nal but they have tax refund estimators. Back when my mom claimed me as a dependent I used those to figure out how much she owed me back. It’s not entirely accurate but it was pretty close. As for her claiming fraud, if you can prove it’s retaliation, I’m sure the divorce lawyer would love to know that. Chances are she knows she wouldn’t get anything back or would owe money and is now mad that she’s not getting more than earned. Good luck and stay safe. Only contact with her should be written (or if you’re in a one party consent state then record all contact with her). Divorce can get nasty so make sure to protect yourself.

  • greywivey1012

    Did she send you her documents via email? Anything to prove she knew and agreed?

  • DragonDeezNutz6969

    Seems like a stupid move on her part tbh lol could potentially raise her tax bracket and change her return amount. Either amend your return or continue filing joint and give her half. Ezpz.

  • zcgp

    Do the calculations for filing separately and give her the amount she would have gotten that way. I think either spouse can unilaterally decide to file separate and the other has to also file separately.

  • DesertDaddyPHXAZ

    You can also PREPARE, not file, on Turbo Tax what it would be if you did Married, Filed Separately. Again, DO NOT FILE IT, but you can use it to prepare what it would have looked like had you prepared it for filing separately, to compare to what the Filed Jointly determined.

  • andrewse

    You, or better yet your wife, could run your info through TurboTax again as separate without filing. Use the returns generated as a basis to split the joint return fairly.

    Get all future important communications in writing, text, etc.

  • Lactating-almonds

    All communication with her in writing moving forward. Text or email only.

  • ComplexToe

    TALK to your lawyer and see if You can file a correction and then from there file separately. If you have kids under 18 and you get full custody then claim them as dependents.

  • twick2010

    Just give her the money. Totally not worth the hassle.

  • Maid_4_Life

    So, you mention that she would be screwed if you filed separately and not jointly. So maybe run her tax return and yours again under separate in the program and make sure to make it something with test or anything so it is different from what you already filed. I run test scenarios in my program sometimes. You don’t have to actually file it. But once you have that, then send it to her so she can see what she would owe or what she would get and will get if she pursues this avenue. However, as you are not divorced yet, I would think, (I don’t know for sure), that the refund would be included in assets being split in the divorce once all the details are completed. So I’m not even sure why she doesn’t just wait for the divorce and settlement stuff.

  • Aggressive_Eagle_964

    My advise is to go to h and r block and ask a professional if it’s possible to file an amended return and file separately. Maybe they will be able to at least tell you how to proceed in terms of the IRS.

  • leannedra1463

    What should have been done in this situation is to have a refund check mailed instead of direct deposited. Then you could have just hung onto the check until it was hashed out through your lawyers and no one could accuse the other of taking more than they were due.

  • ThatWideLife

    See if you can file an extension and hold the money hostage and when you file take the penalties and interest owed (If any) out of her side of the refund. I’m in the middle of a divorce as well and the ex decided to claim all 3 kids without approval and refuses to give me my kids socials so I can file. Joys of divorce, she took literally all my kids paperwork the day I filed for divorce. Remember, it’s best to make her look petty so don’t fall into her trap.

  • karbear92rn

    When my ex and I were separated but still living together we filed together. When I moved out after our divorce finally got moving (I filed in Feb and Covid shut down everything in March), we filed married filing separately.

    My mom and dad have 2 houses. Because my dad got his feelings hurt by my mom telling him the truth, he has been hiding out at their main home while my mom is up by me and their families in their vacation home. This is the first year in 47 years that they filed married filed separately, since they didn’t maintain a residence together for over 1/2 the year.

    The law should be on your side. Contact your divorce attorney and tell them the situation.