The IRS & Separation Maintenence Decrees in NC

I am running into a problem with college financial aid and I am at a loss at how to fix it. I am an American and I married a Canadian. My Canadian husband and I are 100 percent estranged and we do not speak to each other. I don’t even know where he is.

We have been separated for going on three years (I will not pay for a divorce. I can’t afford it). I can prove that I have been 100 percent responsible for all my own bills since we separated.

He has never had residency in the State of NC. I did allow him to claim me since he did support me for 11 months of the 2011 tax period as I had no income that year. We separated in November at the end of the month. We had no property or children and the separation of my possessions and his was simple and easy. When I filed my tax returns for the 2012 and 2013 tax years I was told to file single by HR Block and ironically the IRS. The reason being that we lived apart and I was clearly my own soul support.

The college is now telling me that because I am married that I need to either do an amended tax return or get a separation maintenance agreement. I can’t file an amended because they want to know what his ITN or SSN number is which he doesn’t have and I don’t know where he is at and since his family hated me from the moment they laid eyes on me they won’t talk to me. I’m not exaggerating on the hate. They gave me a jar of peanuts for Christmas knowing that I am severely allergic.

So I am asking if there is a statute that states that I do not have to have a formal separation maintenance agreement in order to file single on my tax return what it is. If I need to get one, can I get it so that it covers the entire time I have been separated, and finally if I still need to get one since I can’t find the procedure anywhere online. I’d love to pay the law office to do the work but I can’t even afford the medication for my multiple sclerosis. A lawyer is out of the question.

HR Block tried to tell the college that I did nothing wrong and that if they had any other client come to them with the identical situation I was in that they would tell them to file single as well.

In North Carolina, legal filing status options include married filing jointly, married filing separately, single, widowed and head of household. You are still legally married and therefore must file as married, either separate or joint. NC does not recognize “legal separation.” If you are not divorced you cannot file as single, and must file as married filing separately. There is no special type of separation agreement that changes your status to unmarried, only a decree of absolute divorce.

I would try to discuss the situation further with a CPA, or tax attorney. I’m sorry I cannot be of more help, but it sounds like you need advise on how to correct/amend previous returns which is something more suited for a professional who specializes in that field.

I am going to follow up on this because my situation is a little different. What if my separation was legal in Ontario. Legal in that we created a written document between the two of us outlining who got what (basically what is mine will stay mine and what is his will stay his). He agreed to not have any claim to property that I owned prior to our marriage. At the time of our separation we lived in Canada, we got married in Canada (Ontario to be exact), and he has filed for divorce IN Canada. My marriage license and certificate were Canadian in origin.

So based on the laws in which I was a residence and where He lives we are separated. Should that not have been sufficient to be legally separated?

I cannot answer any questions about what constitutes a legal separation in Canada, as I only practice in North Carolina.