Yes, as long as you are considered a resident alien for US income tax purposes, you will be able to include your nonresident alien spouse on a jointly filed tax return.
Click this link for more information from the IRS on US Tax Guide for Aliens
If you are a US citizen or resident alien and you are considered married as of the end of the calendar year, you will only be able to file as either married filing separately or jointly.
Click here for more information about Claiming Non-Citizen Spouse and Children On Your Taxes.
To include your nonresident alien (NRA) spouse on your tax return, if your NRA spouse does not have a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), you will need to apply for one. To apply for an ITIN, you would use Form W-7 and would need to attached your tax return to this form (see below). Please note, you will not qualify for the Earned Income Credit (EIC) without a valid Social Security number (not an ITIN) for yourself, your spouse (if filing jointly), and any qualifying children.
Married Filing Jointly and you claim an exemption for your NRA spouse. Your NRA spouse will be treated as a US resident alien for US tax purposes and all of your spouse's worldwide income in USD will be subject to being taxable as a US citizen or resident alien.
Additionally, if you file as married filing jointly and your NRA spouse lives outside the US and meets the Bona Fide Residence Test or the Physical Presence Test, your NRA spouse might be able to claim an IRS - Foreign Earned Income Exclusion that would exclude a portion of your NRA spouse's foreign source earned income (up to $102,100 for 2017). To enter foreign earned income information in TurboTax, log into your tax return (for TurboTax Online sign-in, click Here and click on "Take me to my return") type "foreign earned income" in the search bar then select "jump to foreign earned income". TurboTax will guide you in entering this information.
Here are some additional steps for filing married filing jointly if spouse needs an ITIN.
- leave NRA spouse's SSN blank and print a paper copy of your tax return.
- will may need to use an SSN holder number for your NRA spouse to get through the health care section (try 999-11-9999).
- skip error check section if only error is missing SSN for spouse.
- under the file tab, you will need to select "file by mail" and print a copy of your federal income tax return.
- attach a statement, signed by both spouses, to your joint return for the first tax year for which the choice applies (Nonresident Spouse Treated as a Resident). It should contain the following information:
- A declaration that one spouse was a non-resident 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.
- apply for NRA spouse’s Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) using Form W-7 (Click ITIN). (You will need to apply for a ITIN if filing married filing separately and taking an exemption for NRA spouse and that NRA spouse does not have a SSN.
- 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 NRA spouse to get a certified copy of his/her passport which will need to be included with your tax return filing.) Click here for IRS website ITIN - Frequently Asked Questions .
- mail your tax return along with your declaration statement, Form 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
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342
You may also apply for an ITIN 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.
State filing - You will want to file an extension for your state until you receive your ITIN. This is because the application for your ITIN is a federal filing. Most state will not process your return without either a SSN or an ITIN. (However some states will accept state filings with W-7 attachments. Please contact your state for more information using the State Department of Revenue Contacts and ask if your state will accept a state tax return with a Form W-7 attached).
When the IRS assigns you an ITIN, update your returns (both federal and state) in TurboTax with this new information and then you should be able to e-file your state return.
Because many states give an automatic extension when you file the federal extension Form 4868, just file a federal extension even if you don't think you will need it for your federal tax return. But check with your state's Department of Revenue to make sure that your state doesn't have a separate state extension filing.
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