My wife filed a separate return, and we now want to file jointly. I haven’t filed a return yet. My understanding is that her return needs to be amended in this situation. The 1040x instructions (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040x.pdf) say:
“If you are changing from separate to a joint return and your spouse did not file an original return, enter your name and SSN first.”
This seems to apply to my situation. However, the 1040 instructions (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040gi.pdf) also have something to say about name order:
“If you filed a joint return for 2014 and you are filing a joint return for 2015 with the same spouse, be sure to enter your names and SSNs in the same order as on your 2014 return.”
This also applies to me. We filed jointly last year, with my name first.
These instructions seem contradictory in my case, assuming that the order of names on the 1040x is supposed to match the 1040 (should it?). Which one would take precedence in this situation? What is the bad stuff that might happen if one of these instructions is violated? Internet sources say that changing the order of names from year to year could delay processing. Is that all? Is it the same for the 1040x instruction? If someone knows the answer, a citation would be appreciated (how do you know it?).