PA Informational Diagnostic Ref. 5185 The Filing Status for Pennsylvania Return
This diagnostic generates when the Pennsylvania return is Married Filing Separate:
e-file: The filing status for the Pennsylvania return is Married Filing Separate. The Lacerte program will create an electronic file with only the taxpayer's information. The spouse's information will not be included. The spouse's return must be filed as a conventional paper return. (ref. 5185)
Per the PA-40 instructions all 5 of the following conditions must be met for MFJ return to be filed jointly. Otherwise, the return must be filed MFS.
(J) Married, Filing Jointly
You and your spouse, even if living apart, can file a joint return for convenience. To file jointly, you must meet ALL of the following conditions:
1. Your taxable years end on the same date; and
2. You and your spouse elect to have the same residency period (earliest starting date if you moved into PA and latest ending date if you moved out of PA) if you are part-year residents; and
3. Neither of you is individually claiming one or more of the credits on PA Schedule OC, (see page 22); and
4. Your spouse is still living; and
5. Neither of you is individually liable for the payment of child or spousal support, or another liability to the PA Department of Public Welfare.
When any of the 5 conditions listed are not met, the Lacerte program automatically creates a MFS return to comply with the PA-40 instructions. The Lacerte program can only create one e-file document transmission per return, which results in one of the filers returns having to be paper filed. A MFS status requires two separate e-file transmissions which can not be done within the same return. Therefore, a paper return will be necessary for the spouse's return.