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Tang_2022
Level 1

Filing Status Wrong

My husband doesn't live and work in US, so he doesn't have a SSN. In my previous tax return, I thought if I need to file as Married Filing Separately, his SSN must be needed. So I filed as single. The tax return amount will not change. But should I amend my filing status from Single to Married Filing Separately? Any issues if I don't amend? Appreciate for your advise!

5 Replies
tagteam
Level 15

Filing Status Wrong

@pk

TomD8
Level 15

Filing Status Wrong

The IRS says that you should file an amended return if you need to change the Filing Status on your original return.

 

**Answers are correct to the best of my ability but do not constitute tax or legal advice.
pk
Level 13
Level 13

Filing Status Wrong

@Tang_2022 , assuming that you are US person ( citizen/ GreenCard / Resident for Tax purposes ) and that your spouse is NOT ( no tax id, does not reside in the USA, has no US sourced/connected income etc. ), you are kind of caught between a rock and a hard place:

(a) filing as Single  in lieu of Married Filing Separate on a form 1040, implies you are mis-representing  at best, lying at worst

(b) filing as Married Filing Separate , while not changing your tax situation and being truthful, implies having to file  by mail ( which IRS prefers you not do, because  it delays processing, costs much more  for the human intervention)

Note that the IRS asks for information of the spouse  ONLY because this way they can make sure that each spouse uses the same type of  deduction ( standard or itemized), which does not apply in case of NRA / non-us person.

 

The only viable option in a such a case is to prepare your return with TurboTax, using MFS filing status , using a dummy SSN -- like your own SSN but replacing the last four digits with 9999 or similar ,just to keep the software happy ----,  then printing out the return, replacing the dummy SSN with "  N  R  A ", sign , date and file by mail. This meets all the  legal requirements  but encumbers both the IRS ( processing ) and you ( delay in refunds and cost to mail ).

 

If this is your first year  ( and you working here on work visa ), I would suggest to be compliant by filing an amended return (  changing your marital status, the  details about your spouse  ( NRA,   name , address  etc. ) , and mailing this in.   Note however that IRS suggests not to file  an amended return if there is no change in your  Adjusted Gross Income  or tax liability.

 

So you are really doing for no purpose other than to meet the IRS rules an regs --- no substantive effect on your taxes.

IMHO

 

Is there more I can do for you ?

pk

TomD8
Level 15

Filing Status Wrong

"So you are really doing for no purpose other than to meet the IRS rules and regs" 

 

Which is a really good reason to do it.

**Answers are correct to the best of my ability but do not constitute tax or legal advice.
Tang_2022
Level 1

Filing Status Wrong

Thank you for you reply and advise! Really helpful!

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