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: 
anasser1809
New Member

I could not decide which status should I file my tax for this year.....

I got married out side the United States in March 2016, my wife is not in the United States and she never came before. She does not have either SSN or ITIN number. My taxable marital status in my paycheck is still single as before. I already filled out I-130 to petition my wife in the USCIS. My question is " What is the best status that I should file my taxes for this year?"
1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
GeoffreyG
New Member

I could not decide which status should I file my tax for this year.....

Hello anasser1809:

There is no one absolutely "best way" to file a tax return for a US citizen or Permanent Resident, under all circumstances or situations.  In fact, taxpayers have some choices.  The only method to determine with absolutely certainty which will result in the very lowest tax liability would effectively require completing your tax return using the available options, calculating your tax liability under each, and then choosing among them.  That can be difficult, and is certainly time-consuming -- but it is also effective.

Aside from which method provides the lowest income tax liability, there is another point of view to consider, and that is to select among those choices that is the easiest.  In that respect then, Option # 1 (filing a Married Filing Separately tax return for just yourself) is an easier task to accomplish administratively than Option # 1 (joint return), and requires less paperwork.  So, that could be a factor in your decision as well.

That said, here are your choices, if they have not been already been explained to you elsewhere.

If you are a United States citizen (or a Permanent Resident) and are married to a non-citizen (i.e., nonresident alien), then you have some options on how to file your US tax return, although current United States tax laws do not make this process particularly easy.

It is also helpful to point out that you cannot file a tax return as single, and ignore your nonresident alien spouse.  (We mention that fact because we are sometimes asked.)  Additionally, it is useful to know that the IRS considers those persons who are married as of midnight on December 31st of the year to have been married the whole entire year, for income tax purposes.


Option # 1:  You can file your US tax return as Married Filing Separately, and just report your own income there.  TurboTax can walk you through this process, and help you create the necessary Form 1040.  If your spouse does not already have an ITIN number, or a Social Security Number, then this return would have to further be printed and paper filed.  If your spouse has a valid ITIN or SSN, then the tax return would be eligible for e-filing.  If there is no ITIN or SSN, then in any place where the nonresident spouse's taxpayer ID number is required on a tax form, you would take a black or blue pen and manually write "nonresident alien" or abbreviate as "NRA."

You can also claim a personal exemption for your spouse, if your spouse had no gross taxable income for U.S. tax purposes, and was not the dependent of another taxpayer.  This mirrors the similar rule for US citizens and resident aliens filing as Married Filing Separately to claim the personal (dependency) exemption for their spouse, where that spouse has no taxable income, is not filing a separate tax return, and is not claimed as a dependent on any other taxpayer’s return.  But, in order to do this and claim the personal exemption, your spouse must also have a valid Social Security Number or an ITIN.

Option # 2:  You can elect to include your nonresident spouse on your US income tax return (which may be more or less tax favorable than Married Filing Separately); and file as Married Filing Jointly; but you would need to file a paper Form 1040 tax return in order to do so.  The somewhat complicated process for completing this type of tax return is explained in detail at the IRS.gov website here:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/u-s-citizens-and-resident-aliens-abroad...


Such a tax return (Option # 2) is probably best done by a professional tax preparer.

If you choose Option # 1 and have any difficultly with that, then having the tax return prepared by a professional is also an option here too.

TurboTax has a helpful Frequently Asked Questions webpage about claiming international spouses and children, and you may wish to look at that as well.  Here is the link:

https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Taxes-101/Claiming-a-Non-Citizen-Spouse-and-Children-...


Also, you can read the complete answer to a similar question that was asked here about a year ago.  There is some good information and advice in there as well:

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/3089728-how-can-i-file-taxes-with-my-new-foreign-spouse-who-doesn-...

Thank you for asking this important question.

View solution in original post

1 Reply
GeoffreyG
New Member

I could not decide which status should I file my tax for this year.....

Hello anasser1809:

There is no one absolutely "best way" to file a tax return for a US citizen or Permanent Resident, under all circumstances or situations.  In fact, taxpayers have some choices.  The only method to determine with absolutely certainty which will result in the very lowest tax liability would effectively require completing your tax return using the available options, calculating your tax liability under each, and then choosing among them.  That can be difficult, and is certainly time-consuming -- but it is also effective.

Aside from which method provides the lowest income tax liability, there is another point of view to consider, and that is to select among those choices that is the easiest.  In that respect then, Option # 1 (filing a Married Filing Separately tax return for just yourself) is an easier task to accomplish administratively than Option # 1 (joint return), and requires less paperwork.  So, that could be a factor in your decision as well.

That said, here are your choices, if they have not been already been explained to you elsewhere.

If you are a United States citizen (or a Permanent Resident) and are married to a non-citizen (i.e., nonresident alien), then you have some options on how to file your US tax return, although current United States tax laws do not make this process particularly easy.

It is also helpful to point out that you cannot file a tax return as single, and ignore your nonresident alien spouse.  (We mention that fact because we are sometimes asked.)  Additionally, it is useful to know that the IRS considers those persons who are married as of midnight on December 31st of the year to have been married the whole entire year, for income tax purposes.


Option # 1:  You can file your US tax return as Married Filing Separately, and just report your own income there.  TurboTax can walk you through this process, and help you create the necessary Form 1040.  If your spouse does not already have an ITIN number, or a Social Security Number, then this return would have to further be printed and paper filed.  If your spouse has a valid ITIN or SSN, then the tax return would be eligible for e-filing.  If there is no ITIN or SSN, then in any place where the nonresident spouse's taxpayer ID number is required on a tax form, you would take a black or blue pen and manually write "nonresident alien" or abbreviate as "NRA."

You can also claim a personal exemption for your spouse, if your spouse had no gross taxable income for U.S. tax purposes, and was not the dependent of another taxpayer.  This mirrors the similar rule for US citizens and resident aliens filing as Married Filing Separately to claim the personal (dependency) exemption for their spouse, where that spouse has no taxable income, is not filing a separate tax return, and is not claimed as a dependent on any other taxpayer’s return.  But, in order to do this and claim the personal exemption, your spouse must also have a valid Social Security Number or an ITIN.

Option # 2:  You can elect to include your nonresident spouse on your US income tax return (which may be more or less tax favorable than Married Filing Separately); and file as Married Filing Jointly; but you would need to file a paper Form 1040 tax return in order to do so.  The somewhat complicated process for completing this type of tax return is explained in detail at the IRS.gov website here:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/u-s-citizens-and-resident-aliens-abroad...


Such a tax return (Option # 2) is probably best done by a professional tax preparer.

If you choose Option # 1 and have any difficultly with that, then having the tax return prepared by a professional is also an option here too.

TurboTax has a helpful Frequently Asked Questions webpage about claiming international spouses and children, and you may wish to look at that as well.  Here is the link:

https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Taxes-101/Claiming-a-Non-Citizen-Spouse-and-Children-...


Also, you can read the complete answer to a similar question that was asked here about a year ago.  There is some good information and advice in there as well:

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/3089728-how-can-i-file-taxes-with-my-new-foreign-spouse-who-doesn-...

Thank you for asking this important question.

Dynamic AdsDynamic Ads
Privacy Settings
v