SUBPART E. RETURNS AND PAYMENT OF TAX
§101. Individual returns
A.(1) All individuals required to file a federal individual tax return shall be required to file an individual income tax return. No tax shall be due for any taxable period for which an individual income tax return is not required to be filed pursuant to this Section.
(2) Each return shall specifically state the individual's gross income, the deductions and credits allowed under this Chapter, and written declarations signed by the taxpayer and preparer (if any) stating: I declare that I have examined this return and to the best of my knowledge it is true and complete. Declaration of preparer is based on all available information.
(3) The returns are to be prepared in accordance with the rules and regulations prescribed by the secretary of the Department of Revenue.
(4) For the purposes of this Section, "gross income" shall mean that amount as defined by R.S. 47:42 and "tax table income" shall mean that amount as defined by R.S. 47:293.
B. Husband and wife.
(1) In general. A husband and wife may make a single return jointly. Such a return may be made even though one of the spouses has neither gross income nor deductions. If a joint return is made the tax shall be computed on the aggregate income and the liability for the tax shall be joint and in solido.
(2) Different taxable years. No joint return shall be made, if the husband and wife have different taxable years.
(3) Joint return after death. In the case of the death of one spouse or both spouses the joint return with respect to the decedent may be made only by his executor or administrator; except that in the case of the death of one spouse the joint return may be made by the surviving spouse with respect to both himself and the decedent, if (a) no return for the taxable year has been made by the decedent, (b) no executor or administrator has been appointed and (c) no executor or administrator is appointed before the last day prescribed by law for filing the return of the surviving spouse. If an executor or administrator of the decedent is appointed after the making of the joint return by the surviving spouse, the executor or administrator may disaffirm such joint return by making, within one year after the last day prescribed by law for filing the return of the surviving spouse, a separate return for the taxable year of the decedent with respect to which the joint return was made, in which case the return made by the survivor shall constitute his separate return.
(4) Joint return after filing separate return.
(a) In general. If an individual has filed a separate return for a taxable year for which a joint return could have been made by him and his spouse under Sub-section B, and the time prescribed by law for filing the return for such taxable year has expired, such individual and his spouse may nevertheless make a joint return for such taxable year. A joint return filed by the husband and wife under this paragraph shall constitute the return of the husband and wife for such taxable year, and all payments, credits, refunds, or other repayments made or allowed with respect to the separate return of either spouse for such taxable year shall be taken into account in determining the extent to which the tax based upon the joint return has been paid. If a joint return is made under this paragraph, any election (other than the election to file a separate return) made by either spouse in his separate return for such taxable year with respect to the treatment of any income, deduction, or credit of such spouse shall not be changed in the making of the joint return where such election would have been irrevocable if the joint return had not been made. If a joint return is made after the death of either spouse, such return can be made only with the concurrence of the executor or administrator of the deceased spouse and the surviving spouse.
(b) When a return is deemed filed. For purposes of R.S. 47:1602 (relating to delinquent returns), a joint return made under this paragraph shall be deemed to have been filed:
(i) where both spouses filed separate returns prior to making the joint return--on the date the last separate return was filed, but not earlier than the last date prescribed by law for filing the return of either spouse;
(ii) where only one spouse filed a separate return prior to the making of the joint return, and the other spouse had less than $6000.00 of gross income or $2500.00 of the net income for such taxable year--on the date of the filing of such separate return, but not earlier than the last date prescribed by law for the filing of such separate return; or
(iii) where only one spouse filed a separate return prior to the making of the joint return, and the other spouse had gross income of $6000.00 or more or $2500.00 of net income or more for such taxable year--on the date of the filing of such joint return.
(5) Determination of status. For the purposes of this paragraph:
(a) the status as husband and wife of two individuals having taxable years beginning on the same day shall be determined:
(i) if both have the same taxable year--as of the close of such year; and
(ii) if one dies before the close of the taxable year of the other--as of the time of such death;
(b) an individual who is legally separated from his spouse under a decree of divorce or of separate maintenance shall not be considered as married.
(6) Tax in case of joint return. For determination of the tax in case of a joint return under this Sub-section see R.S. 47:32.
(7) Innocent spouse rule
(a) A person shall be relieved from liability for any tax, penalties, interest, or other amounts for the applicable tax year to the extent that such liability is attributable to an omission from gross income or any claim of a deduction, credit, or basis for which there is no basis in fact or law in that taxable year, and occurs under the following conditions:
(i) The taxpayer filed a joint return with a spouse in such taxable year.
(ii) On such return there is an understatement of tax attributable to erroneous items of the other spouse.
(iii) The taxpayer establishes that in signing the tax return, the taxpayer did not know of, and had no reason to know of such understatement.
(iv) Taking into account all of the facts and circumstances, it is inequitable to hold the taxpayer liable for the deficiency in tax for such taxable year attributable to such understatement of the other spouse.
(v) The taxpayer elects the benefits of this Paragraph not later than two years after the date the secretary has begun collection activities with respect to the taxpayer making the election.
(b) If a taxpayer who otherwise qualifies for relief under Subparagraph (a) can only establish that in signing the return he did not know, and had no reason to know, the extent of the understatement, then such taxpayer shall be relieved of liability for tax, interest, penalties, and other amounts for such taxable years to the extent that such liability is attributable to the portion of such understatement of which such taxpayer did not know and had no reason to know.
(c) For purposes of this Subsection, "understatement" means the difference between the amount of the tax required to be shown on the return for the taxable year and the amount of the tax which is shown on the return.
(d) The relief from liability provided by this Section shall also apply to a person who is married, but files a separate return and that return or the return of the spouse of the taxpayer includes such an understatement of tax attributable to the erroneous items of the other spouse.
(e) If a taxpayer filed a joint return with a spouse for a taxable year, but the secretary finds either that an understatement was attributable to the erroneous items of such innocent spouse, or that an election was made later than two years after the secretary began collection activities, the secretary may nevertheless relieve such taxpayer of such liability as provided for in this Section, if he further finds that:
(i) Either the taxpayer had little or no involvement with preparation of the returns other than signing them, and that the taxpayer did not know of, and had no reason to know of, the understatement, or that the taxpayer was mentally or physically coerced to sign the returns.
(ii) Taking into account all the facts and circumstances, it is inequitable to hold the taxpayer liable for any unpaid tax or any deficiency, or any portion of either.
Amended by Acts 1950, No. 445, §1; Acts 1952, No. 3, §1; Acts 1958, No. 242, §7; Acts 1982, No. 47, §1; Acts 1985, No. 630, §1; Acts 1995, No. 515, §1; Acts 1997, No. 658, §2; Acts 1997, No. 1136, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, No. 203, §1, applicable to all tax periods beginning after Dec. 31, 1998.