My boyfriend and I want to file a joint return

March 25, 2015 by Dave Du Val, EA
Woman

Hey Dave,

My boyfriend and I have been living together for nine years. Can we file a joint tax return this year?

Isabelle

 

Isabelle,

Whether you and your boyfriend are considered to be “married” is a matter of state law, and the law is different for different states. If you live together in a common-law marriage recognized by the state where your marriage began, the IRS considers you to be married and allows you to file a joint return. Keep in mind, however, that no state law uses seven years (a common myth) as the final decision to be considered married.

The states that currently recognize common law marriages are: Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.  New Hampshire recognizes common law marriages for inheritance purposes only. You can also add the District of Columbia to the list even though it is not a state.

You should contact a legal authority in your state for a definitive answer to this question for your specific state.

Deductibly Yours,

Dave

Tags: joint return

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Rhonda D. Guillory, EA
Learning and Development Manager

 

Rhonda was a Seasonal Tax Return Reviewer at TaxAudit before joining the permanent staff as an Audit Representative in 2009. She has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in the Information Technology field for 15 years before making a career change. Since transitioning to the field of income tax in 2003, she has prepared and analyzed hundreds of tax returns. Rhonda enjoys helping taxpayers and tax professionals learn and understand the fascinating world of income taxes. Currently, she is the Learning and Development Manager.


 

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