In instances that your spouse can’t sign the return due to a disease or injury, the taxpayer can sign instead of him or her when asked to do so. You just need to write by (your name), wife (or husband) beside your signature supported by a dated statement.
The statement must include the form number of your return, the tax year you are filing for, the reason why your spouse is not able to sign, and that they have agreed to let you sign for them. Most importantly, you should not forget to sign for yourself. This method can be done for those who have an incapacitated spouse. Other instances that allow you to sign on behalf of the other are when:
- Deceased SpouseWhen your spouse died and the tax return was not filed prior to death. During these instances, the surviving spouse or a personal representative can file and sign the return. The surviving spouse may file a joint return within the allowable period or any year preceding the death year where they qualify to file jointly. You will just need to write filing as surviving spouse in your signature area.
- Signing as Guardian of your SpouseFor couples where one spouse is mentally incompetent, the IRS allows you to sign for your spouse on joint tax returns as their guardian. You will just need to write By (your signature), guardian on the signature area for your husband (or wife).
Can a spouse sign a tax return for the other spouse with verbal approval?
Verbal communication is the main means of communication for people, most importantly to a married couple. This may include the approval of each other towards important matters, this includes when you file for an income tax return.
However, it was not necessarily mentioned in the internal revenue code whether a verbal approval for a signature may be a valid power or not. Having said that, only one spouse signing the form may be allowed, verbally approved or not as long as you attach the document required. These documents can either be dated statements, proof of military deployment, or a power of attorney whichever best applies to your situation.
Verbal approvals can also become dangerous whenever you are accused to have a fraudulent return and are joint filing. This happens when you have filed for a joint tax return for years and your spouse signs for you all the time. This signature can be out of tacit consent and is considered by the IRS since they assume that all married couples file a joint return and that it has always been so.
If your spouse has filed a joint return with a tacitly consented signature, the tax court will not grant you innocent especially if you have not filed for a separate return during the tax year that fraudulent joint return was filed. This is because joint returns let you become equally liable for the tax liability.
Can a spouse sign a tax return for the other spouse who is deployed in the military?
If you will file for a joint tax return and your spouse is in the military and is currently deployed to serve the country in a combat zone, you are allowed to sign the return for them even without power of attorney.
This also applies to those whose spouses are missing in the combat zone or those who are performing qualifying service and have not secured power of attorney (POA) for joint tax returns. However, you need to attach a signed statement on your tax return form explaining that your spouse is currently deployed for military service or any other document that proves it.
Can I Sign a Tax Return for my out of Town Spouse?
Generally, the IRS does not allow the spouse to sign for the other when they are out of town. Instead, the departing spouse should sign the tax return form before leaving or secure a power of attorney. According to the internal revenue laws, if you are married filing jointly, both of you must sign the return form. If one spouse is out of town, a power of attorney that authorizes the wife (or husband) to sign for the other must be attached for a tax return.
Filing a tax return late and paying the penalty is a better choice rather than with incomplete documents. It is because incomplete tax returns require you to pay more penalties and is refused by the IRS than those filing late.