My husband and I both are F1 status, do we need to...
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international2021
Level 1

My husband and I both are F1 status, do we need to perform tax report jointly or separately?

Hello.

 

I'll explain my situation step by step.

 

He's lived in the U.S. for more than 5years, so he is a resident alien for tax reports.

So, when I was on an F2 visa, we did the tax report jointly.

 

But, since last fall, I've been on the master's degree, so both of us are in F1 status now.

My husband has income but I don't have it, so I think we can do joint tax report same as last year.

However, I'm not sure whether I can perform a tax report jointly or not.

Can we do a joint tax report or do we need to report it separately?

 

Please give some advices for us!

Thank you!

3 Replies
ErnieS0
Employee Tax Expert

My husband and I both are F1 status, do we need to perform tax report jointly or separately?

You can file together and elect to be treated as if both of your are residents. Or you can file two separate returns—resident for him and nonresident for you.

 

If you have no income, filing together as residents is better. You need an ITIN or Social Security number to file.

 

The IRS allows a U.S. citizen or resident alien to elect to file jointly with a nonresident spouse. You will be treated as a resident alien, meaning all your joint worldwide income is taxable to the U.S.

 

You are NOT eligible for the stimulus. Your husband is eligible. If you file jointly in TurboTax you will have to do a workaround. Tell TurboTax that you received the full stimulus amounts ($1,200 for the first and $600 for the second). Otherwise TurboTax will add $1,800 to your refund as a Recovery Rebate Credit and the IRS will correct your return and delay your refund.

 

If you make this choice to file together, the following rules apply:

  • You and your spouse are treated, for federal income tax purposes, as U.S residents for all tax years that the choice is in effect. However, for Social Security and Medicare tax withholding purposes, the nonresident alien may still be treated as a nonresident alien. Refer to Aliens Employed in the U.S. – Social Security Taxes.
  • You must file a joint income tax return for the year you make the choice (but you and your spouse can file joint or separate returns in later years).
  • Each spouse must report his or her entire worldwide income for the year you make the choice and for all later years, unless the choice is ended or suspended.
  • Generally, neither you nor your spouse can claim tax treaty benefits as a resident of a foreign country for a tax year for which the choice is in effect. However, the exception to the saving clause of a tax treaty might allow a tax treaty benefit on certain specified income.

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international2021
Level 1

My husband and I both are F1 status, do we need to perform tax report jointly or separately?

Thank you for your reply!

 

I have one more question about your answer.

 

If I'm a non-resident and my husband is a resident, is it still possible to file a tax report jointly?

LinaJ2020
Employee Tax Expert

My husband and I both are F1 status, do we need to perform tax report jointly or separately?

Yes, your husband can make an election to claim you as a resident and file jointly. 

 

TurboTax does not provide any tools or forms to assist you to make the election, unfortunately.  You would need to follow IRS's instructions to attach the statement to your 2020 tax return.  You cannot e-file.  Instead, print out all your tax forms along with the statement and paper-file.  Click here to see Nonresident to resident

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