My wife filed taxes earlier this year as Married filed Separately.

I haven't filed taxes yet.

Now we want to file together as Married filed Jointly but IRS wont accept her Social Security, since they say she already filed.

I know 1040-X is used to amend a past return, so does that mean she fills out 1040-X, and i send our new Married filed Jointly return with it?

Or do I have to also file Married with Separately and then the IRS will transform both of our Married filed Separately returns into 1 Married Filed Jointly?

  • 1
    pub17 says 1040-X is the right method. It also says 'a separate return or returns', which to me implies the MFJ can replace either one MFS or two (both) MFS's, although I wouldn't bet my life on it. Jul 12, 2020 at 3:20

1 Answer 1


To the best of my knowledge, spouses cannot file an MFJ return on Form 1040 electronically if either or both spouses have filed an MFS return already. What the spouses can do is spelled out on page 10 of the Instructions for Form 1040X which says

You are changing from separate to a joint return. If you and your spouse are changing from separate returns to a joint return, follow these steps.

  1. Enter in column A the amounts from your return as originally filed or as previously adjusted (either by you or the IRS).
  2. To determine the amounts to enter in column B, combine the amounts from your spouse’s return as originally filed (or as previously adjusted) with any other changes you or your spouse are making. If your spouse didn’t file an original return, include your spouse’s income, deductions, credits, other taxes, etc., in the amounts you enter in column B.
  3. Read the instructions for column C to figure the amounts to enter in that column.
  4. Both of you must sign and date Form 1040-X.

In short, a paper Form 1040-X is required. You have three years still to change from MFS to MFJ, but waiting to change from MFS to MFJ till after the tax filing deadline has passed means that you will need to file your own MFS return by the tax deadline (now three days away) to avoid penalties, and later either of you can file Form 1040-X to amend the MFS to MFJ. Or, your spouse can file a 1040-X right away to change from MFS to MFJ before the tax filing deadline in which case your income and deductions etc will get incorporated into the 1040-X and save you the trouble of filing an MFS return.

  • Or you can file an extension by the deadline (with payment) and then file the 1040-X by October 15.
    – prl
    Jul 13, 2020 at 14:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .