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akumarv
Level 1

Spouse (Homemaker residing in India) how to file taxes in US for year 2019

My family(Spouse indian citizen homemaker has ITIN)  I am based in US working on H1B visa, she was in US in 2019 only for 2 months approx.

 

I have received a letter from IRS that I need to renew the ITIN for my wife as it is expiring on Jan 1 2020, what shall I do, do i need to renew the ITIN for claiming her as a dependent on my tax return or it is not required? 

 

IRS Letter says the personal exemption has been suspended for year 2018 - 2025 due to tax act, consequently spouses or dependents outside the united states who have been claimed for this personal exemption  benefit and no other benefit do not need to renew their ITIN's this year.

Can you pls help whether i need to renew the ITIN for my wife or not for filing married filing jointly return?

12 Replies
Critter
Level 15

Spouse (Homemaker residing in India) how to file taxes in US for year 2019

Yes, you must renew to file a joint return. What you quoted applies to claiming the personal exemption when filing separately which also needs a current number to e-file. 

pk
Level 12
Level 12

Spouse (Homemaker residing in India) how to file taxes in US for year 2019

@akumarv ,  generally agreeing with @Critter  and noting information in your post, AND assuming that 

(a) you are here on H-1B and your family ( spouse is here on a valid H-2 ( dependent visa )

(b) you are a Resident for tax purposes ( i.e. you have passed the  substantial Presence Test )

(c) your spouse  is away from the USA the last two months of the year but her main residence is with you in the USA

(d) that you have filed  (and therefore the purpose of the  ITIN for the spouse ) Married Filing Joint for 2018

 

therefore  you would need to renew the ITIN of your spouse so you can avail of the MFJ filing status and all its benefits ( standard deduction etc. );  Personal and dependent  exemptions are still valid  but for the years 2018 through 2015 , the amount is  reduced to Zero--- but  standard deduction has been doubled.

The fact that your spouse is  temporarily absent from the USA does not change anything as long as her dependent visa is valid and that her main home is your home.

 

Hope this clarifies your situation.  Please feel free  ask more  questions in comment

 

Namaste ji

akumarv
Level 1

Spouse (Homemaker residing in India) how to file taxes in US for year 2019

Hello Critter,

 

My wife is in India for this whole, she was in US just 45 days in 2019, so do I still need the ITIN number, IRS letter says I don't as that was only required if I am claiming personal exemptions, can you pls confirm.

 

Thanks a lot for your prompt response.

 

Regards,

akumarv
Level 1

Spouse (Homemaker residing in India) how to file taxes in US for year 2019

Hello Pk,

 

My wife is in India for this whole year 2019, she was in US just 45 days in 2019 (She does not meet the substantial presence test), so do I still need the ITIN number, IRS letter says I don't as that was only required if I am claiming personal exemptions, can you pls confirm.

 

Thanks a lot for your prompt response.

 

Regards,

akumarv
Level 1

Spouse (Homemaker residing in India) how to file taxes in US for year 2019

Also one more question, in case if ITIN is required mandatorily, my wife will be out of US for most of the time, how shall i renew the same as the documentation needs original passport for ITIN application.

 

pls help

 

regards

pk
Level 12
Level 12

Spouse (Homemaker residing in India) how to file taxes in US for year 2019

@akumarv , I misunderstood your original post ---- I now understand that your wife  was in the USA only for 45 days in 2019, instead of being away for only 45 days.  This would make it difficult to sustain an assertion that she was away ONLY temporarily and that your US residence is her home.   It would have been much easier if she had returned at least for a respectable number of days  in December or if you could show that she was detained India  for family reasons and that it was her intention to return during the year of 2019.

 

Absent this , under the US-India tax treaty  you can claim your wife ONLY for personal exemption amount ( which for the years 2018 through 2025 is zero ), provided she has no other sources of earning

 

When does her ITIN run out ( is it valid till 12/31/20190 ) ?  If that is the case then you can still use  it  for the tax year 2019.

When did you enter the country with H-1 and when did she come in and/or spend time here in the USA ?  

akumarv
Level 1

Spouse (Homemaker residing in India) how to file taxes in US for year 2019

Thank you so much PK for all your valuable inputs and suggestions, below is my reply:

 

When does her ITIN run out ( is it valid till 12/31/2019) ?  If that is the case then you can still use  it  for the tax year 2019.

 

AKUMARV> Yes it will expire as on Jan 1, 2020, how will I use it, will i be able to file the tax return electronically during my tax return filing

 

When did you enter the country with H-1 and when did she come in and/or spend time here in the USA ?  

 

AKUMARV> I was in US for whole of 2019 except for 30 days vacation in Nov'2019, my wife entered on May 16th '2019 and left July 5th'2019

 

Thanks once again for your prompt response and help

pk
Level 12
Level 12

Spouse (Homemaker residing in India) how to file taxes in US for year 2019

@akumarv , I need a little  bit more info -- how long do you intend / currently plan to stay in the USA;  Is your spouse coming back to USA;  Is she currently working in India  i.e. does she have other income  that may come under USA taxes; do you have children;  when did you come into the country -- i.e. is 2019 your first year ??

 

My impression from your post so far is that you have lived here for a few years and your spouse has been here for most of the time and that she is now working in India -- therefore my questions -- thank you for the earlier replies with info

Your longer term plan makes for a  cleaner/ specific answer 

akumarv
Level 1

Spouse (Homemaker residing in India) how to file taxes in US for year 2019

Hello PK @pk ,

 

Once again thanks a lot for your support:

 

Below are the details:

 

1. I am based in US from Sep - 2008.

 

2. My wife was in US from Sep - 2008 Till Feb -2016

 

3. In Feb 2016 she along with my 2 kids (one US citizen and one Indian citizen) moved back to India.

 

4. She is not working in India and has no source of income, i send money to her on monthly basis for supporting her and my kids.

 

5. Since the time she moved to India, she visited US only in May-2019 which is this year.

 

6. In future definitely we have plans to bring her and the kids back to US, probably in sometime in next 2-3 years timeframe.

 

7. Till now i was using her ITIN on my tax returns and filing returns as "Married Filing jointly" regularly.

 

8. I will be in US for next 5 yrs minimum not sure of the plans after that, might stay longer as well.

 

But now since her ITIN is getting expired on 01/2020, I need help as for renewal of ITIN i need her original passport to be sent to IRS which is difficult since she is back in india.

 

Can you pls help if i can use her ITIN which is expiring on 01/2020 to electronically file her returns and will turbo tax system accept the return with expired ITIN number.

Regards

akumarv
Level 1

Spouse (Homemaker residing in India) how to file taxes in US for year 2019

Also @pk  she will most probably visit US this year again in May-Jun'2020 time frame for 2 months, I am planning to renew her ITIN during that time frame.

 

Regards

pk
Level 12
Level 12

Spouse (Homemaker residing in India) how to file taxes in US for year 2019

 @akumarv , thank you for sharing the details -- much appreciated.

Yes , using the ITIN of your wife, you indeed would be able to file as MFJ for the  tax year 2019.

Yes you can and should use TurboTax -- all it needs is the ITIN, it has no way of knowing that it has expired or needs renewal.

Because of  longer term plans it makes sense for you to renew  your wife's  ITIN --- you need to make sure that her  visa  is valid.  Perhaps she can visit the US consulate in Delhi or a town near where she  is  and get help  there on getting the ITIN renewed or at least get a certified copy of her passport for submission to the IRS.  While I am not conversant with the requirements of ITIN renewal,  for issuance of ITIN, one can file a joint return and include  W-7 ( application for ITIN ) and the documents required  for retrospective issuance of ITIN. Perhaps a similar process exists for renewal --of course that would mean filing by mail to get human interaction and  issuance of ITIN.   Note that renewal ITIN is the same number as before  just extension of time period.

To iterate , for the 2019  tax year her current ITIN is still valid and can be used for filing the  tax for the year.  And yes  given your plans you need to file for the extension ASAP.

 

Does this answer all your query?

 

Namaste ji 

 

PS --- @akumarv   there are CAA in India -- they can certify the documents for the ITIN application -- thus you do not have to send in the passport of your wife -- see below:

 

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/acceptance-agents-india

 

pk

Critter
Level 15

Spouse (Homemaker residing in India) how to file taxes in US for year 2019

To file the 2019 return in 2020 you MUST renew the ITIN ...

Do I need to renew my ITIN?

If you need to file a tax return in 2020 and your ITIN has expired or will expire before you file in 2020, IRS recommends you submit your renewal application now to prevent potential delays in the processing of your return.  If you use an expired ITIN on a U.S. tax return, it will be processed and treated as timely filed, but without any exemptions and/or credits claimed and no refund will be paid at that time.  You will receive a notice explaining the delay in any refund and that the ITIN has expired.   

 

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/individual-taxpayer-identification-number

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