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Federal tax returns that are filed with a filing status of married filing jointly cannot be amended later to married filing separately. But is the same thing true in Iowa?

The answer is no. Taxpayers can indeed amend the Iowa return to separate filing status after filing the original Iowa return jointly.

Let’s review the Iowa filing status rules for married couples. The filing status choices are:

  1. Married filing jointly
  2. Married filing separately on a combined return
  3. Married filing separately on separate returns

Remember, Iowa filing status for married couples is not tied to federal filing status. On an original Iowa return, married taxpayers are free to choose any of the three statuses above, regardless of what they chose on the federal return. And as I’ve said before, when you’re thinking about Iowa MFS, you need to put all thoughts of federal MFS out of your mind because the concept IS NOT THE SAME in Iowa.

Because Iowa’s filing status rules are different from federal rules, married taxpayers are allowed to amend from MFJ to MFS on the Iowa return.