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Returning Member

Is it essential to file a tax return for my wife (F2)?


I am currently in my 6th calendar year in the US and tried to file a tax return (married jointly) with my wife. I'm on an F1 visa and she is on F2.


I filed a tax return in March with applying ITIN for her (I have my own SSN), but got a letter that she got rejected as her Visa has expired at the end of May. I didn't renew her/my Visa as it isn't necessarily required to stay in the US unless I go abroad, and I have I 20 form that is valid. I asked IRS and they said the Visa has to be renewed to her to apply for ITIN, but because it expired last year, I need to go to my country to get a new Visa.


Now I think about whether it is so important to for her file a tax return or not. She definitely did not make any income at all so she has nothing to report. Would it be essential for her to file a tax return? IRS said I could file a separate tax return whenever I want and this choice seems very tempting.


Thank you for your help, in advance.

2 Replies
Level 13
Level 13

Is it essential to file a tax return for my wife (F2)?

@SodaStream , if the question is can you file as Married Filing Separate  ( MFS), of course  you can .  Form your post it appears that the IRS has rejected your application for ITIN and therefore the  return is not accepted.  Thus you need to file a return -- MFS will work but  you will miss some important benefits e.g.  your standard deduction is only 12,400    for MFS instead of 24,800 for a married couple filing jointly.  Note that you need to file  by October 15th -- the last day with extension.

The next question in my mind  is about your statement that your wife's visa has expired --- while  the term visa  is sometimes used as  permission to apply to enter a country , it is at other times used  as a stand in for  permit to stay.  In your particular  case I think the form I-94 ( a paper form or online or stamped on the passport  upon being admitted ) tells you how long you are allowed to stay   , with staying in compliance / status.  Suspect  your wife , being on a dependent visa  has the additional burden  of you being  allowed to stay.  So I don't understand  why her visa has expired and/or why you did not extend hers along with yours.  Suggest very strongly that you investigate  this carefully  ___ IRS  refusal should raise a red flag.  If she  is staying past her "parole" period, she may be in non-compliance and  be barred from entering again for three years or even 10 years -- depending on facts and circumstances.  I-20 just says that you are in status/ compliance  of the conditions of admission -- not the stay period.  Please investigate.


Is there more I can do for you ?

Returning Member

Is it essential to file a tax return for my wife (F2)?

Thank you,  @pk, for the reply.


For the visa issue, I was worried as well when it was about to expire. I checked with my university office for the international student that it is okay to stay with an expired visa as long as I do not go outside the US and plan to come back. ICE also mentioned that it is okay as long as I hold my student status (third question from which I still have.

I even saw that a student could apply ITIN with the I-20 form (second category of with an F1 visa but I guess it is different to F2 dependents.


Again, thanks for the reply. I might prepare for MFS soon.

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