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Author: brxkic One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 121061  
Subject: Married filing separately, spouse not filing Date: 3/3/2004 1:57 AM
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Hi Fools:

Me again. So I have separated last year, not yet divorced, but soon. My spouse just told me that he has no income to report and is not filing. I am filing and planning on taking the standard deduction.

I have transferred securities to him pursuant to the separation agreement in 2003. Since that is not exactly alimony (since it is not cash), I can't deduct those transfers even though I am technically supporting him.

Question is: if I don't completely trust my spouse' claim that he has no income, should I not take him as an exemption? That is, if I take him as an exemption, would I be liable for his not filing a return even though I file a separate return? My hunch is that I shouldn't take him as an exemption, but just want to make sure I am not missing anything.

Thanks again!
Annie
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Author: NaggingFool Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 70321 of 121061
Subject: Re: Married filing separately, spouse not filing Date: 3/3/2004 11:48 AM
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My spouse just told me that he has no income to report and is not filing.

Check the rules on dependants (there's a recent link to the correct publication on this board) to see if you're eligible to claim him as a dependant for last year. I don't know how much of the year you would have to live with him, you do have to pay more than half of his support.

If he really has no income to report then he shouldn't mind signing your return on which you file married filing jointly, right? That would be in your greatest economic favor.

- Megan

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Author: wtam Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 70325 of 121061
Subject: Re: Married filing separately, spouse not filing Date: 3/3/2004 2:39 PM
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question here is do you trust his estimation that he had no income. if you sign a joint return with him, and he underreported his income, you are as much liable as he is for lying on the return. you need to know if he really has no income, how is he covering his daily expenses. personally i would not want to file a joint return unless i was intimately aware of his financial dealings.

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Author: brxkic One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 70335 of 121061
Subject: Re: Married filing separately, spouse not filing Date: 3/3/2004 5:17 PM
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Megan:

Persuant to my separation agreement, I have agreed to file a separate return this year. Question is, if my spouse if not filing, can I claim him as an exemption? And if I can't completely verify that he really has no earnings to report, would claiming him as an exemption be a bad idea?

Thanks!
annie

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Author: pmarti Big funky green star, 20000 posts Home Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 70339 of 121061
Subject: Re: Married filing separately, spouse not filing Date: 3/3/2004 6:53 PM
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Persuant to my separation agreement, I have agreed to file a separate return this year. Question is, if my spouse if not filing, can I claim him as an exemption? And if I can't completely verify that he really has no earnings to report, would claiming him as an exemption be a bad idea?

See page 9 of Publication 501. You can claim your spouse's personal exemption only if he had zero income and cannot be claimed as someone's dependent.

If you believe his story, I have a nice bridge in NYC that's up for sale. I can't imagine how he could live without either having some sort of income (even if earnings from assets being liquidated) or from provided support (unless you were supporting him). Thus, I'd advise you not claim his personal exemption.

Phil

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