I want to get married through a confidential marriage license (I'm a California resident), but I don't want my accountant to know (for annoying family reasons). If he later goes through my tax forms and marks my marriage status as "single", can I reasonably get into trouble?

If there are any other legal issues that could arise, I'd like to know as well. This just happens to be the one that my partner and I are afraid of.

I apologize if more context is needed; I'm trying to strip my issue down to the bare minimum and am happy to provide more.

  • Are you asking if you can file as single even if your are married? Presumably your spouse would do likewise.
    – user6726
    Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 2:48
  • @user6726 I'm asking if there could be any legal repercussions to doing so. We want to be married, but don't want others to find out. In my case for example, my (family...) accountant does my taxes, and by default he will mark me as single even if I get married. Could this be a problem?
    – throwaway
    Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 2:50
  • Are you an adult? Why not just get a different accountant?
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 3:30
  • I'm still a dependent.
    – throwaway
    Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 10:38

1 Answer 1


If you are married at the end of the year, you are prohibited from using the Single tax filing status.

Filing as Single technically opens you up to tax fraud charges from the IRS, but it is unlikely that criminal charges would happen since filing as Single versus Married filing Separately afford almost the same tax benefits - there's no loss to the IRS. However, they could still tack on penalties if either of you were flagged, which would cost you more money.

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