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kokuryux
New Member

I'm married, but my wife doesn't have SSN yet, so I am unable to file married on my taxes, but should I file married on W-4, or still file as single across the board?

 
11 Replies
JulieH1
New Member

I'm married, but my wife doesn't have SSN yet, so I am unable to file married on my taxes, but should I file married on W-4, or still file as single across the board?

If you were married on December 31, 2017,  you cannot enter single on your taxes.

If you want to enter single on your W4 you can do that and you will have more taxes taken out, but you can do married with 1 dependent also.

You have two options for your tax return in this situation.  

First, you can file as married, filing separate, and omit your spouse's income from your return.  Second, you can elect to treat your spouse as a resident alien for tax purposes.  There are several issues to consider in making this choice.   Here's more information and directions for you to consider:

As a married US citizen or national with a nonresident alien spouse, if you were considered married as of December 31, you are considered married for the entire tax year. Therefore, you will only be able to file your tax return as either married filing separately or married filing  jointly separately (or possibility head of household, if you have a "qualified dependent"- see US citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad - Head of Household). You will not be able to file as single.  For more information on the filing status requirements, see Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.

Married filing separately -

According to the IRS,  if you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien married to a nonresident alien, you are considered “Married Filing Separately” unless you qualify for a different filing status. If you file a separate return, you generally report only your own income, exemptions, credits, and deductions. You can claim an exemption for your spouse only if your spouse had no gross income, isn't filing a US tax return, and wasn't the dependent of another person. Please refer to these links for general information about IRS - Married Filing Separately. For special income/deduction allocation rules, click this link if married filing separately in a Community Property State (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, or Wisconsin).

    Married Filing Separately (includes head of household (HoH), if you have a "qualified child"- see US citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad - Head of Household). Please note that you may be able to claim an exemption for your NRA spouse (You can claim an exemption for your spouse only if your spouse had no US source income, isn't filing a US tax return, and isn't the dependent of another person)

      • select married filing separately option in TurboTax under the personal info section.
      • leave NRA spouse's SSN blank
      • Under the personal info section, choose the box for "NRA spouse" option and select all the questions on the next screen regarding your NRA spouse
      • hand-write "NRA" in all of the places on your tax return that require your NRA spouse's SSN (IRS - Married Filing Separately)
      • skip the error check section as long as your only error is missing spouse's SSN
      • mail in your return (you will not be able to efile your tax return so choose "file by mail" in TurboTax)
      • mail to IRS address printed with your return

    Married filing jointly -

    It is important to note that by including your NRA spouse on your tax return, you will be treating your spouse as a resident alien for tax purposes. What this means is that you will get the exemption for your spouse, but all your spouse's worldwide income* will be subject to taxes (in USD) by the United States. Click here for more information about claiming a non-citizen spouse on your tax return

    *About your spouse's income - According to the IRS, if you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, you must report income from all sources within and outside of the U.S. This is true whether or not you receive a Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement,  a Form 1099 (Information Return) or the foreign equivalents.  See Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income, for more information.

    Therefore, by including your spouse on your tax return, your spouse's worldwide income will be taxed by the United States. This includes both US and Foreign earned (ie: wages) and unearned (ie: bank interest) income from all sources. So if your spouse does not have any US income but does have foreign income, that foreign income will need to be included on your married filing jointly tax return (reported in US dollars). The Internal Revenue Service has no official exchange rate. In general, use the exchange rate prevailing (i.e., the spot rate) when your spouse received the income that needs to be reported. Please refer to the following IRS links for more information about Foreign Currency and Currency Exchange Rates and Yearly Average Currency Exchange Rates

    In TurboTax, if your nonresident alien (NRA) spouse does not have a social security number (nor any prior Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) and you want to include your NRA spouse on your tax return, you will need to:

    • file as married filing jointly or married filing separately (if taking exemption for your NRA spouse).
    • leave NRA spouse's Social Security Number blank  (when prompted to enter information into TurboTax)
    • when you are getting ready to file your return in TurboTax, skip past the error message section in TurboTax regarding the missing SSN (but make sure that this is the only error message that you are getting
    • under "file" tab, select that you want to "file by mail" (you will NOT be able to efile your tax return with a W-7 attached)
    • print a paper copy of your tax return to mail to IRS.
    • apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) using Form W-7 (Click ITIN)
    • attach a copy of your Form W-7 (along with the necessary supporting documents) to your tax return (For the supporting documents, one option is for your spouse to get a certified copy of his/her passport which will need to be included with your tax return filing. Have your NRA spouse check with his/her local embassy regarding this certified copy) Click here for IRS website ITIN - Frequently Asked Questions
    • mail your tax return along with your attached W-7 and supporting documents to the IRS. According to the IRS, because you are filing your tax return as an attachment to your (ITIN) application, you should not mail your return to the address listed in the Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ instructions. Instead, send your return, Form W-7 and proof of identity and foreign status documents to:

           Internal Revenue Service
           Austin Service Center
           ITIN Operation
           P.O. Box 149342
           Austin, TX 78714-9342 

      You may also apply using the services of an IRS-authorized Acceptance Agent or visit some key IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in lieu of mailing your information to the IRS in Austin  
    kokuryux
    New Member

    I'm married, but my wife doesn't have SSN yet, so I am unable to file married on my taxes, but should I file married on W-4, or still file as single across the board?

    So I either need to file as single or married with one dependent on my W-4?
    BobinCT
    Level 7

    I'm married, but my wife doesn't have SSN yet, so I am unable to file married on my taxes, but should I file married on W-4, or still file as single across the board?

    You cannot legally file as single!
    GLADIATOR
    New Member

    I'm married, but my wife doesn't have SSN yet, so I am unable to file married on my taxes, but should I file married on W-4, or still file as single across the board?

    if i chose to fill Jointly  

    What about the state Tax Return, do i still send every thing this address 

    Internal Revenue Service
         Austin Service Center
         ITIN Operation
         P.O. Box 149342
         Austin, TX 78714-9342 

    Alkies
    Returning Member

    I'm married, but my wife doesn't have SSN yet, so I am unable to file married on my taxes, but should I file married on W-4, or still file as single across the board?

    I did not file my 2020 taxes on time because I waited for my wife's SSN to come which it did in early 2022. Can I file married filing jointly putting her new ssn?

    Alkies
    Returning Member

    I'm married, but my wife doesn't have SSN yet, so I am unable to file married on my taxes, but should I file married on W-4, or still file as single across the board?

    We got married on December 26.2019. I filed my 2020 taxes this year 2022 using married filing jointly,

    Alkies
    Returning Member

    I'm married, but my wife doesn't have SSN yet, so I am unable to file married on my taxes, but should I file married on W-4, or still file as single across the board?

    We got married December 26, 2019. I just filed my 2020 taxes this year 2022 now that my wife has her SSN available. Would this be acceptable? Thanks

    ZoltanB45
    Level 6

    I'm married, but my wife doesn't have SSN yet, so I am unable to file married on my taxes, but should I file married on W-4, or still file as single across the board?

    You are allowed to file the late return and file joint. The IRS does not look at when someone received his or her social security number to see if he or she had  it that year.

    jlyng1969
    Level 2

    I'm married, but my wife doesn't have SSN yet, so I am unable to file married on my taxes, but should I file married on W-4, or still file as single across the board?

    absolutely nothing to do with the question i asked 

    Akrkwk310
    New Member

    I'm married, but my wife doesn't have SSN yet, so I am unable to file married on my taxes, but should I file married on W-4, or still file as single across the board?

    I am in the similar situation.  We got married in 2021 obviously my wife does not have SSN or TIN.

     

    can i file as head of household with her and my mother who i am supporting?

    but when you file someone as a dependent, they still ask for their SSN or TIN thou? 

    DMarkM1
    Expert Alumni

    I'm married, but my wife doesn't have SSN yet, so I am unable to file married on my taxes, but should I file married on W-4, or still file as single across the board?

    You are correct.  You cannot claim a dependent who is not a US citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national, or a resident of Canada or Mexico.  Additionally, your spouse cannot be a qualifying dependent for head of household filing status.  You must have another dependent that qualifies you for head of household status.

     

    Your spouse needs to have either a social security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).  

     

    To use an SSN you will need to apply for a tax filing extension to allow time to get the SSN.  If eligible, apply for the SSN with the social security office/administration.  

     

    If not eligible for an SSN then you can apply for an ITIN using one of the options in this IRS instruction.  Depending on which option you choose you may need to file an extension to wait for the ITIN. 

     

    Once you have the ITIN or if using option 1 in the IRS instruction when you mail in the return/W7 together, you can then elect to file a joint return.  

     

    Your mail in return will need to have a statement electing to treat your spouse as a resident alien for tax filing purposes.  The statement needs to include:  

     

    • A declaration that one spouse was a nonresident alien and the other spouse a U.S. citizen or resident alien on the last day of your tax year, and that you choose to be treated as U.S. residents for the entire tax year. 
    • The name, address, and identification number of each spouse.
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