Sign Up

Why sign in to the Community?

  • Submit a question
  • Check your notifications
or and start working on your taxes
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
CLy
Level 1

Got married this year, planning to file MFJ, but wife has a complicated tax situation that I am concerned about.

Hi, 

So my wife is from Vietnam. However, she attended University in the US from 2013-2017. During 2013-2017, she had on-campus job at her University. She also has a US social security card. When I questioned her about her taxes for those years, she said someone from the University filed her taxes for her and that she does not have any copies of those tax returns. My wife is clueless when it comes to US taxes, so I am not even sure if she even knows 100% that the person she is referring to actually filed her taxes. 

 

At the end of 2017, my wife went back to Vietnam, but came back one year later to attend Grad School in the US. My wife did not work in 2018, but started working on-campus in 2019. 

 

Fast forward to today, we got married in 2019, but I have no idea how I should approach filing our taxes for the 2019 tax year. I am completely knowledgeable about filing taxes for my own tax situation, but since we plan to file MFJ for 2019, I am not sure about the following items:

 

  1. When filing for 2019, how important is it that I obtain her last tax return from years ago since she has probably not filed since 2017? If it is important, please explain why and how do I go about obtaining her last tax return? I tried using the IRS tool "Get Transcript", to pull her previous tax information, but had no luck. 
  2. Her US social security card looks different than mine, it has "Use for Work Authorization Only" written on it. Does that matter at all? Can I use this social security # when filing our taxes?
  3. Based on what I've described, will I be able to efile our tax returns for 2019 or does anything about our tax situation cause us to be unable to efile our taxes? If I can't efile, can I still do it through TurboTax and mail in the return?
  4. If there are any questions that you think I should have asked in order for me to file our taxes for 2019, please let me know. Any information helps. 
1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
BillM223
Expert Alumni

Got married this year, planning to file MFJ, but wife has a complicated tax situation that I am concerned about.

1. It is not (normally) necessary for your 2019 tax return to have her previous returns in hand since individual tax returns are largely independent of each other from year to year. However, for your peace of mind, I would encourage to continue to try to get the transcripts. Of course, it is possible that you can't get them because the returns were never filed.

 

In any case, file your 2019 return in any case even as you are searching for other things.

 

2. It appears to me that the IRS will allow her SS number to be used as her identification number, even with the caveat "Use for Work Authorization Only". At least, that is the conclusion that I draw from this IRS page. The second image wouldn't make any sense if the taxpayer were not able to use this Social Security number.

 

3. I don't see any immediate problem to you e-filing for 2019; however, you are correct to assume that even if the e-file failed for some reason, then you can print the return using TurboTax and then mail it yourself.

 

A typical reason that e-filing is rejected is because the name of the taxpayer on the tax return does not match the name of the taxpayer on the SS card with the same SS number. This is often a difficulty for newly-weds (because of the name change) and for those who do not have the normal American paradigm for a name (first name, last name). Hispanics in particular have difficulties because they often use both the mother's and the father's last name, so there exists the chance for confusion in that the taxpayer thinks of one name as the "last name" while the SSA thinks of the other name as the "last name".

 

Just use whatever name is on the SS card...and then if you need to change the name on the card, do it after your e-file is successful this year.

 

4. Without more information, it is not even clear to me that your wife would have been required to file a tax return prior to 2019. What you might do is if the IRS can't show you her W-2s from those years (NOTE: there is more than one type of transcript so make sure you ask for a transcript that shows income items like W-2s) is ask the University instead. Once you find any paperwork, then you can go through the separate process of determining whether or not she was required to file (this may require the services of a local tax pro who is familiar with filing returns for foreign taxpayers here on a visa).

**Say "Thanks" by clicking the thumb icon in a post
**Mark the post that answers your question by clicking on "Mark as Best Answer"

View solution in original post

1 Reply
BillM223
Expert Alumni

Got married this year, planning to file MFJ, but wife has a complicated tax situation that I am concerned about.

1. It is not (normally) necessary for your 2019 tax return to have her previous returns in hand since individual tax returns are largely independent of each other from year to year. However, for your peace of mind, I would encourage to continue to try to get the transcripts. Of course, it is possible that you can't get them because the returns were never filed.

 

In any case, file your 2019 return in any case even as you are searching for other things.

 

2. It appears to me that the IRS will allow her SS number to be used as her identification number, even with the caveat "Use for Work Authorization Only". At least, that is the conclusion that I draw from this IRS page. The second image wouldn't make any sense if the taxpayer were not able to use this Social Security number.

 

3. I don't see any immediate problem to you e-filing for 2019; however, you are correct to assume that even if the e-file failed for some reason, then you can print the return using TurboTax and then mail it yourself.

 

A typical reason that e-filing is rejected is because the name of the taxpayer on the tax return does not match the name of the taxpayer on the SS card with the same SS number. This is often a difficulty for newly-weds (because of the name change) and for those who do not have the normal American paradigm for a name (first name, last name). Hispanics in particular have difficulties because they often use both the mother's and the father's last name, so there exists the chance for confusion in that the taxpayer thinks of one name as the "last name" while the SSA thinks of the other name as the "last name".

 

Just use whatever name is on the SS card...and then if you need to change the name on the card, do it after your e-file is successful this year.

 

4. Without more information, it is not even clear to me that your wife would have been required to file a tax return prior to 2019. What you might do is if the IRS can't show you her W-2s from those years (NOTE: there is more than one type of transcript so make sure you ask for a transcript that shows income items like W-2s) is ask the University instead. Once you find any paperwork, then you can go through the separate process of determining whether or not she was required to file (this may require the services of a local tax pro who is familiar with filing returns for foreign taxpayers here on a visa).

**Say "Thanks" by clicking the thumb icon in a post
**Mark the post that answers your question by clicking on "Mark as Best Answer"

View solution in original post

Dynamic AdsDynamic Ads
Privacy Settings
v