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musgt01
New Member

Non resident alien

How do I inputs my wife information in turbo tax. I am stationed in Japan and she is considered a NON resident alien with no SSN. I support her because she is a stay home mother. Am I able to claim her on turbo tax? Thanks for any help. Appreciate it

5 Replies
DanaB27
Expert Alumni

Non resident alien

You can choose to treat the nonresident as a U.S. resident and file a joint tax return.

Please be aware, that each spouse must report his or her entire worldwide income for the year you make the choice and for all later years, unless the choice is ended or suspended.

 

To make the choice attach a statement to your paper return (you can't e-file), signed by both spouses, to your joint return for the first tax year for which the choice applies. It should contain the following information:

  1. A declaration that one spouse was a nonresident alien and the other spouse a U.S. citizen or resident alien on the last day of the tax year, and that you choose to be treated as U.S. residents for the entire tax year
  2. The name, address, and identification number of each spouse. (If one spouse died, include the name and address of the person making the choice for the deceased spouse.)

Please see IRS Nonresident Alien Spouse for more details.

 

You will need to print your return and have to apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for your spouse. Please see How do I apply for an ITIN?

 

 

If you were married in 2020 and choose not to file a joint return then you will have to file as married filing separately unless you qualify for head of household. You mentioned a child, therefore you might qualify for this status. 

 

Your nonresident alien spouse cannot qualify you as a head of household,  but you can qualify if you paid more than half the cost of keeping up the home in which you lived and your unmarried child, grandchild, stepchild, foster child, or adopted child also lived for more than half the year.

 

 

If you file married filing separately you will not be able to e-file your tax return, you will have to print and mail the return. When TurboTax asks for your spouse's Social Security Number (SSN) then enter as a placeholder SSN (we suggest 999-88-9999, 999-88-9998 or 999-88-9987, as those numbers won’t produce any TurboTax program errors in a review check). After you printed your return your will have to white out the placeholder SSN and write "NRA" (for nonresident alien).

 

Please see How do I print and mail my return in TurboTax Online? for additional information.

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pk
Level 12
Level 12

Non resident alien

@musgt01 , having gone through @DanaB27   excellent reply , covering many bases,  I would just like to  comment on your  post " I am stationed" -- does that imply that you are  working for the US Govt. and / or military ? Or are you employed / self-employed locally ?  

Is there more help you need ?

musgt01
New Member

Non resident alien

I currently work for the US military living in Japan. My Japanese wife has no intention of moving to the United States. She will stay in Japan. What is the best way to go about filing? I do want to claim my child. Thanks for your help

DanaB27
Expert Alumni

Non resident alien

In your situation it would be easiest to file head of household. Please enter your and your spouses information under "My Info". Then please follow these steps to qualify for head of household:

 

  1.  Click "My Info" from the left side of your screen
  2. Scroll down to Filing Status/ Marital status and click “Edit
  3. Select "married" and "No" to the "Do you want to file this return together with your spouse?" question and click "continue"
  4. On the next screen select "was a nonresident alien at any time during 2020."
  5. Continue through the questions.

 

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pk
Level 12
Level 12

Non resident alien

@musgt01 , generally agreeing with the advice from @DanaB27  for  adding child  to your return and filing as Head of Household-- since you are indeed maintaining a household for your child.   Note however, that even for this   and unless  the child  already has SSN, you will need to  get some identification ( ITIN/SSN ) for the child .

On the other  hand even if your  spouse has no intention of moving to  USA in the future , you can still file  as Married Filing Joint ---  this is the most tax benign status.   It just means that you would have to get  an ITIN for your wife  ( and child  if need be, while awaiting SSN ).  This  can be done as part of the  return filing -- just the application for ITIN can be included  ( and retroactively granted )  on the return package.  

I think  the process has been described  here  in the community  and if you cannot find this then let us know and one of us will walk you through this.

IMHO

 

pk

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