Yesterday we were filing a Married Filing Separately tax return for a client which would save them approximately $6K in California tax. My office administrative staff made an error and accidentally submitted the joint return for filing which was immediately accepted. I subsequently researched and found that we cannot amend a 540 return to change filing status from MFJ to MFS, unless exceptions are met, which we will not meet.
My question is whether I have any ability to file an amended return as a result of a simple clerical error. The prior year tax return was filed separately, and all 2018 estimates were made separately by the taxpayer and spouse, so we have a good argument to show we had every intention of filing separately.
Let me know your thoughts and recommendations on what to file if you think we have a good argument.
If they filed a federal separate return, they can amend as they must use the same filing status (with some exceptions) See ¶21-002 Quick Guide to California Nonconformity for Taxable Year 2018 (PDF) from Spidell’s Big Blue Answer Book