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I filed my return as married filing separately, but now realize my spouse and I could save money by filing jointly. Can I cancel my first return?

You can't cancel your return, but you can amend it. Use Form 1040X to amend your return to change your filing status. You must mail your 1040X.

You can amend a return to change from married filing separately to married filing jointly, but not vice versa. So, once you file a joint return, you can’t change it to a separate return.

To change your filing status from married filing separately to married filing jointly on your 1040X:

  1. Enter your and your spouse's names and Social Security numbers (SSNs).
  2. Check the Married Filing Jointly box under amended return filing status.
  3. Enter in Column A your amounts from your original separate return.
  4. Enter your spouse's amounts in Column B. These amounts might be:
    • From your spouse's original separate return
    • Not previously reported if your spouse wasn’t required to file or didn't file
  5. Include any changes you and your spouse are making.
  6. Complete Column C.

Both of you must sign and date the form. So, both of you are responsible for:

  • The tax and any interest or penalties due on the return
  • Any understatement of tax that might become due later. If that happens and one spouse doesn't pay the tax due, the other might have to.

You can’t amend your return from married filing separately to married filing jointly if both of these apply:

  • You or your spouse receives a notice of deficiency about taxes for the year you filed.
  • The person who receives a notice of deficiency files a petition with the tax court.

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