John829
Level 2
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I have clients who are a married couple and a MFS/MFJ comparison shows a $453 higher refund overall married filing separately. 

It is only due to the fact that the spouse will receive a much higher recovery rebate credit by filing MFS.

Is this a glitch in the program or will the IRS allow us to use a different filing status than the year of the initial stimulus payment in order to maximize the recovery rebate?

Thanks for any replies.

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qbteachmt
Level 15
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This is moot: "than the year of the initial stimulus payment"

The "year of the stimulus" is 2020.

Perhaps it would help to review what is really happening:

The funds were paid out as Advanced payment against a projection. The projection used 2018 or 2019 tax returns. But 2020 is the Actuals. You use the 2020 return to reconcile what a person is entitled to, against what they got.

If the person is not a dependent in 2020, then they would be entitled to the payment/credit as individual filers. That doesn't mean "not being claimed." It means "no longer qualifies as a dependent."

You might want to bookmark these links and read the IRS guidance.

Interactive wizards portal for determining dependency:

https://www.irs.gov/help/ita

And:

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payment-information-center-topic-a-eip-eligibility

https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/second-eip-faqs#Eligibility

One for each EIP.

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John829
Level 2
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Thanks for the reply.

 

I did check out the IRS FAQs on this but did not see anything that specifically addresses having a different filing status in 2020 than 2019. Since the advance payment was based on a filing status, I assume it must be taken into account.

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sjrcpa
Level 15
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Have you entered 1/2 of the EIP they already received under each spouse?

Depending on the numbers, your result is theoretically possible.


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John829
Level 2
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Thank you for your reply.

Yes, I did.

But I did wonder if that made sense. Since the husband is a higher earner and wouldn't have received any stimulus had they filed separately in 2019.

sjrcpa
Level 15
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EIP was an advance. The 2020 return computes the actual allowed amount after EIP.


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John829
Level 2
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Thank you. 

This may be a year where many more MFS returns are filed than usual.

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qbteachmt
Level 15
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"Since the advance payment was based on a filing status"

Of a Previous year. That is moot, now.

"MFS returns are filed than usual"

There are other analysis points that weigh on this, though. The EIP alone is not a reason to file separately, if you realize something else is being forfeited or given up.

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