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GamaK
Level 1

Wife Attending School in a Different State

My wife and I both are grad students living in the USA as F1 visa holders, but we fall under the category of resident aliens for tax purposes. We both were attending grad schools at DC.

 

Unexpectedly, wife's professor decided to move his whole lab to a university in Michigan. Since she is in her final year, she is still considered a student at the university in DC, and she is officially an intern at the Michigan university. Because of this, she still gets paid from the original university in DC (that is how the grant funding worked out for her).

 

She now rents an apartment at Michigan, and I am currently renting an apartment in DC.

 

1. Should we file taxes next year as married filing jointly? or married filing separately?

2. Since she is still getting paid by DC (her W2 is going to come from the DC university), is she considered a person working in DC even though she lives in DC?

3. Since we are still F1 visa holders and our primary intention in the USA is to attend school, how we determine where our "tax home" is?

4. May be this is not relevant here, but should she change her state ID to Michigan? She does not plan to own a car during ~1 year stay in Michigan. Her current license has my current DC address. Neither of us own any vehicles and nor plan to own one before we graduate.

1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
pk
Level 13
Level 13

Wife Attending School in a Different State

@GamaK

1. Should we file taxes next year as married filing jointly .......

Generally and because you are  both  "Resident for tax purposes ", it may be better to file  the federal as  Married Filing Joint,   For State purposes, it may be simpler to each file as Married filing Separate.   The reason for this is , in here case, MI will claim that the earnings  from another state is earned in MI  and should be taxed in MI because the work is done in MI ( IRS  generally follows this ).  She will also have to file a DC return to claim back all the  taxes withheld by DC.

2. She is a student ( interning in another state ) and would generally be considered  "transient  in MI ".  Her home base is still DC and so there is no need to  change her State id but tax withholding  should be changed  with the employer ( U in DC ).

 

Is there more I can do for you ?

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2 Replies
pk
Level 13
Level 13

Wife Attending School in a Different State

@GamaK

1. Should we file taxes next year as married filing jointly .......

Generally and because you are  both  "Resident for tax purposes ", it may be better to file  the federal as  Married Filing Joint,   For State purposes, it may be simpler to each file as Married filing Separate.   The reason for this is , in here case, MI will claim that the earnings  from another state is earned in MI  and should be taxed in MI because the work is done in MI ( IRS  generally follows this ).  She will also have to file a DC return to claim back all the  taxes withheld by DC.

2. She is a student ( interning in another state ) and would generally be considered  "transient  in MI ".  Her home base is still DC and so there is no need to  change her State id but tax withholding  should be changed  with the employer ( U in DC ).

 

Is there more I can do for you ?

GamaK
Level 1

Wife Attending School in a Different State

@pk   Thank you so much for your reply. Things are much clearer now.

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