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ankitmit
Level 1

Can I file my taxes under status "Married filing jointly"?

Last year, I changed my visa status from F1 to H1 in the month of November. My spouse's visa also changed to H4(dependent visa for H1). My spouse did not work last year and has no income but she got here ITIN last year. Can I file my tax as "Married filing jointly"?

5 Replies
KarenJ2
Expert Alumni

Can I file my taxes under status "Married filing jointly"?

Yes, you can make 2 election statements that must be attached to your return.  You will not be able to e-file and you cannot mail your return until you have qualified as a part year resident

 

The first election is called the First Year Choice. This is if you did not meet the substantial presence test in 2019.  You will meet it in 2020.  You can choose to be treated as a US resident for 2019.  

 

To make this choice, you must:

1. Be present in the United States for at least 31 days in a row in 2019, and

2. Be present in the United States for at least 75% of the number of days beginning with the first day of the 31-day period and ending with the last day of 2019. For purposes of this 75% requirement, you can treat up to 5 days of absence from the United States as days of presence in the United

 

To meet the substantial presence test in 2020, you will need to count the days needed to meet the 183 US days test (below is approximate for example only)

 

2018  0 US days

2019  61  US days  * 1/3 = 20 days

2020  183 -20 days = 163 days

 

You can file your return after you have been in the US for 163 days in 2020  You will need to do the math.

 

You can find more about the First Year Choice on page 7 of Publication 519

Then you need to make an election to treat Your Nonresident Spouse as a Resident 

This election can be found on page 9 of Publication 519.

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ankitmit
Level 1

Can I file my taxes under status "Married filing jointly"?

Hi Karen,

 

Thanks for taking the time out to reply to my query. However, I am not sure if I am actually eligible for the First year choice option. My H1B visa started on 10 December 2019 and my wife got her H4 visa on the same date.

 

I returned to the US on 12/27/2019. So, technically I was not present in the US for 31 days in a row in 2019. So am I still eligible for the First year choice? If yes, how do I go about the process?

KarenJ2
Expert Alumni

Can I file my taxes under status "Married filing jointly"?

Unfortunately not.  As you were not in the US for 31 days in a row (you cannot count exempt days with F-1)  in 2019, you cannot use the First Year Choice

 

When did you first enter the US on an F-1 visa?

 

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ankitmit
Level 1

Can I file my taxes under status "Married filing jointly"?

I first entered US on F1 visa in January, 2016. I have filed taxes for every year since then(when I was a student with 0 income).

KarenJ2
Expert Alumni

Can I file my taxes under status "Married filing jointly"?

You will need to file as a nonresident this year as you were not in the US on and F-1 for more than 5 years or part years.  You can use Sprintax to file your nonresident return.

 

You can file a resident return for the 2020 tax year.

 

 

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