Does couples have to file separate Schedule SE? Can I amend it for last 10 years

Breakingbad

New Member
We own a transportation company and some rental properties. We always filed our taxes together for 25+ years but credit hours doesn't show under my social security account. I don't qualify for Social security benefits because it only shows 8 hours and that year it shows no income under my husband's name. They borrowed my husband's credits and approved me for Medicare.

Social Security office wants me to submit Schedule SE but Schedule SE only has my husband's name on it. It was the same accountant for all those years. He passed away last year. How can I fix this? Can I amend my taxes for the last 10 years or submit separate Schedule SE so I can qualify for Social Security.

We never worked for any employer. We received unemployment during Covid-19. Thank you
 
I presume you filed jointly? Did you participate in the business (i.e., do work)? If so, you should have each had schedule SEs for your respective parts of the business. There's some other issues that arise based on whether you're in a community property.

You can only amend tax returns for the three years prior to the ones now due.

Anything that didn't get submitted on YOUR SE will not count toward your social security requirement.
 
How can I fix this? Can I amend my taxes for the last 10 years or submit separate Schedule SE so I can qualify for Social Security.

We never worked for any employer. We received unemployment during Covid-19. Thank you

My condolences on the passing of your husband. There's a lot more information I'd want to know before giving a definite answer to that question:
  • How is the business organized — is it a LLC, LLP, LLLP, Corporation, general partnership or something else?
  • Did you both work for the company and if so, what was the split of income between you?
  • Were all the returns filed on time, and are they all paid?
  • Is the business still operating?
You have two hurdles here. On the IRS side of things you generally may only amend returns filed during the last three years or amend old returns on which you owe money and the amendment would reduce/eliminate the tax owed. For those older returns you cannot get a refund of any over paid tax.

Your focus in your question is about your Social Security earnings record. That's where the second hurdle comes in. You are generally limited to get credit for returns filed within 3 years of the return due date to get earnings credit with SSA. SSA explains this rule as follows:

If You Fail to File
If you don’t file a tax return reporting your self-employment income, you have a limited time to file a return and still get credit with the Social Security Administration (SSA) for your work time and income. You must file the return within three years, three months, and 15 days after the tax year for which you earned the income for which you want credit.

That means if you didn’t file a return reporting your 2019 self-employment income, you’d have until April 15, 2023, to correct it. However, this grace period doesn’t exempt you from any penalties and back taxes you may owe due to filing late.

You'd want to meet with a SSA representative or an attorney who assists people with SSA issues to see how much more credit you may be able to get. Absent some unusual circumstance, you are going to limited to amending only the last 3 years of returns to report your work credits.

This SSA rule ties into the tax rule but I won't get into detail on other than the Congress did not want people to claim SSA work credits for years that the IRS cannot collect the Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare taxes.
 
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