You have the option of filing Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately. There are tax advantages to filing jointly versus separately. However for tax purposes, a nonresident alien spouse can be treated as a US resident, which allows you to file as married filing jointly, based on the conditions below.
Nonresident Spouse Treated as a Resident
If at the end of your tax year, you are a U.S. citizen or a resident alien (even if you were NOT for the whole year) and married to a nonresident alien, you can choose to treat your nonresident spouse as a U.S. resident for U.S. Federal Individual Income Tax purposes.
- You must file a joint income tax return for the year you make the choice (but you and your spouse can file joint or separate returns in later years).
- For the year to make the choice, you and your spouse are both taxed on worldwide income.
- Generally, neither you nor your spouse can claim tax treaty benefits as a resident of your foreign spouse’s country for the tax year for which the choice is in effect. However, there may be exceptions on certain tax treaties that allow a resident alien to claim a tax treaty benefit on certain specified income.
For more information, please view the IRS Publication on Nonresident Spouse Treated As A Resident. http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/Nonresident-Spouse-Treated-as-a-Resident
How To File Your Return:
If your spouse does not have a social security number or ITIN, you can complete your return using TurboTax; however, you are unable to efile. When working through the system, leave the social security blank. When you are finished, you will print your return and submit a Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number with your return.
Please see the TurboTax FAQ below for assistance with completing a W-7 and the link to retrieve the forms.