My client had filed for legal separation but was not divorced as of 12/31/18. She has no contact with her spouse. How does one file a tax return as Married Filing Separate when there is no way to access the W-2 of her spouse? There are legal reasons why she cannot contact him.
What does she do if he files a joint tax return without her knowledge?
First, he can’t file a joint return without her signature. Community ends at the date of separation so report her income only from the date they separated. If they were together part of the year, technically she splits her income for that period and notifies him in writing prior to April 15. You could also attach a statement saying she is unable to contact him and reported her income only