I'm currently holding O1 visa and trying to file a tax return for the first time. I got married last year and my wife moved to US to live with me. She has no ITIN or income in US since she's not authorized to work(holding O3 visa). Am I qualified to file the return jointly? I want get her ITIN number so that we can file jointly to reduce much more tax. However, she need to submit W-7, ID, and most importantly a tax return(!) to get the ITIN. How can she submit a tax return when she has no job history in US? Does it mean I should print out my tax return and submit it along with her ITIN application to file jointly? If I'm correct, what's next? Would I get a return tax check from IRS?
Yes - she can obtain an ITIN without a job history. The application for an ITIN is on a Form W-7. You would only apply for this ITIN in the year that you will be including her on your jointly filed return and you would be attach a copy of your jointly filed income tax return to the W-7 filing application.
As for being able to file jointly -
If you do not meet these tests for the first year in the USA, you will be considered a nonresident alien and will file a Form 1040NR which is not supported by TurboTax. Here is a link to the IRS website for Form 1040NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return.
If you are a Nonresident Alien who will become a Resident Alien under the Substantial Presence test in the year following this taxable year, you may elect to be treated as a Dual Status Alien for this taxable year and a Resident Alien for the next taxable year if you meet certain tests. Refer to the First Year Choice area, under Dual-Status Aliens, of Chapter 1 in Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
If you meet the Green Card Test or the substantial presence test for this year, you will be considered a dual-status alien. In this situation, you would report only US sourced income before the date of your residency and all worldwide income after the date of your residency. (TurboTax does not support dual status filings.)
See this link for additional information US Tax Guide for Aliens
If you are a dual-status alien and you are going to make a first-year choice and also include your NRA spouse on a jointly filed tax return, you will need to include 2 declarations with your tax return.
- The first year choice, which youwould make if you are a dual status alien.
- The declaration to be treated your nonresident alien spouse as resident alien for the entire year.
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.
If filing as married filing jointly, 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.
For any foreign income that was taxed in a foreign country that is also include on your US jointly filed return, you will be able to claim a Foreign Tax Credit on your US income tax return.
You will need to file for an ITIN on Form W-7 and will attach a copy of your return to this W-7 filing. You will also need to 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). This statement will include both the first year choice (if applicable) and the declaration statement. The declaration statement 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
Additionally you will need to 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