Tax question: missing spouses' SSN [split from zombie thread]

I was married in another country. I am divorced this month. I have filed my tax returns yesterday with wife 's ssn missing on the form. Because I am unable to get it. Will they process the form.

File single and forget about it. The IRS does not care about anything except filings that attempt to misstate income or reduce legitimate taxes due. Since MFS and Single have the same rates, or Single has higher, they are not NOT going to care about a failed short-term marriage that you’re not trying to claim as a basis for lower taxes.

What happens if your wife is a zombie?

This is a five-year-old zombie post for an obviously very transient situation which, so far as I can tell, we don’t know the resolution to and possibly never will, unless Apocalpyso cares to update.

Dammit. Anyone got some zombie bite spray?

Hi Zee, welcome to the dope. The zombie jokes are what happens when you reopen a thread that has been dead for several years. Don’t let it bother you.

As to your question: Since you are now divorced, do you need to file as married? Barbiarian has the right call. Worst case scenario the come after you and ask you to submit an amended return, at which point you claim ignorance and hash it out with them. But chances are they won’t bother.

That’s absolutely not true. Look at the tax rate schedules. MFS is absolutely the worst case status you can possibly use and will almost always result in higher taxes than even being Single. In addition to the rates being higher (actually, the brackets are narrower), many credits and deductions are disallowed on MFS returns. For example, if your spouse itemizes, you are not allowed to claim the standard deduction; you cannot claim the Earned Income Tax Credit; your ability to contribute to a Roth IRA is almost wiped out; etc.

In general, MFS and Single are the same for W-2 wages up to a certain point and only get worse in higher brackets and when things like itemized deductions come into play. Not that it matters five years later anyway, but I had the strong impression that the OP was not exactly into itemizing territory. 1040EZ, more likely.

However, if the comparison has changed in the last few years, it escaped my attention and you may well be right.

Moderator Note

Since this is a new issue raised in a zombie thread, I have split off the new posts into a new thread. I also placed this new thread in IMHO since although the question was asked in a factual manner, it is best answered by advice and opinion on how to proceed. Note that factual answers (i.e. cites about what the IRS requires to process a form) are still permitted.

The original thread was here: tax question: missing spouses' SSN - Factual Questions - Straight Dope Message Board