You are not able to file as Single, because you are married. It does
not matter if your spouse is not a United States citizen, or if he or
she lives overseas. That said, you still do have some
options and choices on how you can file a tax return. But, as this
topic is rather complicated, so this answer is fairly long. Please
continue with us while we explain things.
If you are a United States citizen (or a Permanent Resident) and are married to a non-citizen, then you have some choices on how to file your USA tax return, although current United States tax laws do not make this process particularly easy.
Option # 1: You can file your US tax return as Married Filing Separately (which is usually a somewhat unfavorable tax filing status), and just report your own income there. TurboTax can walk you through this process, and help you create the necessary Form 1040. If your spouse does not already have an ITIN number, or a Social Security number, then this return would have to further be printed and paper filed. If your spouse has a valid ITIN or SSN, then the tax return would be eligible for e-filing. If there is no ITIN or SSN, then in any place where the nonresident spouse's taxpayer ID number is required on a tax form, you would take a black or blue pen and manually write "nonresident alien" or abbreviate as "NRA."
You can also claim a personal exemption for your spouse, if your spouse had no gross taxable income for U.S. tax purposes, and was not the dependent of another taxpayer. This mirrors the similar rule for US citizens and resident aliens filing as Married Filing Separately to claim the personal (dependency) exemption for their spouse, where that spouse has no taxable income, is not filing a separate tax return, and is not claimed as a dependent on any other taxpayer’s return. But, in order to do this and claim the personal exemption, your spouse must also have a valid Social Security Number or an ITIN.
Option # 2: You can elect to include your nonresident spouse on your US income tax return (which may be more or less tax favorable than Married Filing Separately); and file as Married Filing Jointly; but you would need to file a paper Form 1040 tax return in order to do so. The somewhat complicated process for completing this type of tax return is explained in detail at the IRS.gov website here:
Such a tax return (Option # 2) is probably best done by a professional tax preparer.
If you choose Option # 1 and have any difficultly with that, then having the tax return prepared by a professional is also an option here too.
TurboTax has a helpful Frequently Asked Questions webpage about this subject, and you may wish to look at that as well. Here is the link:
Also, you can read the complete answer to a similar question that was asked here about a year ago. There is some good information and advice in there as well:
If you are not a US citizen or a resident alien yourself (in the
language of the tax code a nonresident alien), then please know that
you would be unable to complete and file your tax return using
TurboTax. The above advice and instructions would not apply to you.
Nonresident aliens require instead a tax return document known as Form
1040NR, or 1040NR-EZ, plus a document known as Form 8843.
While TurboTax can complete most any type of tax return for US citizens and resident aliens, at the present time we do not support the nonresident Form 1040NR series of tax returns, or Form 8843.
However, TurboTax has partnered with a company called "Sprintax.com" to offer nonresident tax preparation services. They can certainly help with filing a Form 1040NR and other related tax forms. They are a cost-effective way to take care of nonresident tax compliance needs.
For further information you can visit them on the internet at:
We hope all this information will prove useful to you, and thank you for asking this important question.