Solved: Newly married. Wife does not yet have green card for US. Can I still file married filing joint?
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hunkychunkgoat
New Member

Newly married. Wife does not yet have green card for US. Can I still file married filing joint?

 
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DDollar
New Member

Newly married. Wife does not yet have green card for US. Can I still file married filing joint?

Tax law states because you are married, you must file your taxes using either the Married Filing Jointly status or Married Filing Separately status.  Your spouse, will be considered a nonresident alien.

There are two options for filing your taxes.

Option # 1

Treat your spouse as a resident alien for tax purposes.   If you make this election you are required to include your 100% of your spouse's worldwide income on your US tax return and it will be subject to US taxes.  

To Make this election do the following:

1. Attach a statement to your tax return (signed by both spouses) that states that one spouse is a nonresident alien and the other is a U.S. citizen or resident alien, and you are choosing to both be treated as US residents for the tax year. 


2. List the name, address and Social Security number (or Individual Taxpayer Identification number) of each spouse.  You will need to complete a Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Application for ITIN.  This form will be attached to your tax return.  Turbo Tax does not support the Form W-7.  You will have to complete it outside of Turbo Tax.  You will have to print, sign and mail your return if you file Form W-7.

3. For the first year you make the choice, you have to file a joint return. In later years you may file joint or separate returns. Married Filing Jointly will give you a higher standard deduction and has other benefits that are not available using a married filing separately status, but you do have to include your spouse’s worldwide income in joint income.

Option 2


Treat your spouse as a nonresident alien for tax purposes. You will not have to include your spouse's non-US income on your U.S. tax return. You will have to use the filing status of Married Filing Separately.

If you file as Married Filing Separately AND your spouse has no income from sources within the US AND is not claimed as a dependent of another US taxpayer, you CAN claim an exemption for your spouse. You will need either a social security number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for your spouse in order to claim the exemption. For information on, and instructions on how to obtain an ITIN see the IRS web pageIndividual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).




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7 Replies
DDollar
New Member

Newly married. Wife does not yet have green card for US. Can I still file married filing joint?

Tax law states because you are married, you must file your taxes using either the Married Filing Jointly status or Married Filing Separately status.  Your spouse, will be considered a nonresident alien.

There are two options for filing your taxes.

Option # 1

Treat your spouse as a resident alien for tax purposes.   If you make this election you are required to include your 100% of your spouse's worldwide income on your US tax return and it will be subject to US taxes.  

To Make this election do the following:

1. Attach a statement to your tax return (signed by both spouses) that states that one spouse is a nonresident alien and the other is a U.S. citizen or resident alien, and you are choosing to both be treated as US residents for the tax year. 


2. List the name, address and Social Security number (or Individual Taxpayer Identification number) of each spouse.  You will need to complete a Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Application for ITIN.  This form will be attached to your tax return.  Turbo Tax does not support the Form W-7.  You will have to complete it outside of Turbo Tax.  You will have to print, sign and mail your return if you file Form W-7.

3. For the first year you make the choice, you have to file a joint return. In later years you may file joint or separate returns. Married Filing Jointly will give you a higher standard deduction and has other benefits that are not available using a married filing separately status, but you do have to include your spouse’s worldwide income in joint income.

Option 2


Treat your spouse as a nonresident alien for tax purposes. You will not have to include your spouse's non-US income on your U.S. tax return. You will have to use the filing status of Married Filing Separately.

If you file as Married Filing Separately AND your spouse has no income from sources within the US AND is not claimed as a dependent of another US taxpayer, you CAN claim an exemption for your spouse. You will need either a social security number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for your spouse in order to claim the exemption. For information on, and instructions on how to obtain an ITIN see the IRS web pageIndividual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).




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Jolapp11
Level 1

Newly married. Wife does not yet have green card for US. Can I still file married filing joint?

Hello

 

I am in a similar situation. My wife arrived in the US early this year after which we married. She is waiting for her green card yet and can't get her SSN until she has it. She does not have any income to report either in the US or from her home country. Can we file separately without her having a SSN or an ITIN, since she has no income does she even need to file? Or will TurboTax allow me to file my taxes since I did not enter her SSN or ITIN?

If she does have to have an ITIN, what is the fastest way to file, apply for it and wait 6-8 weeks then file online? Or should we mail our return along with the W-7 form?

 

Thank you 

Cynthiad66
Expert Alumni

Newly married. Wife does not yet have green card for US. Can I still file married filing joint?

Yes, if your spouse is a nonresident alien, you can treat your spouse as a resident alien for tax purposes. If you choose this option, you can file a joint tax return with your spouse and have an increased standard deduction.

 

In general, when a U.S. citizen or resident alien is married to a nonresident alien their federal tax filing status is Married Filing Separately.  However, you may choose another filing status if you qualify.

 

If you choose to file Married filing joint, for federal tax purposes, you’ll need to include all of your spouse's income, foreign and domestic. This income will be subject to U.S. tax. However, you may be able to claim credits for any taxes your spouse paid on their foreign income.

 

If this is the first year that you’ll file jointly with your spouse, you’ll need to tell the IRS that you’re electing to both be treated as U.S. residents for tax purposes. This election is permanent unless it’s suspended or revoked. Once revoked, the nonresident alien can’t elect to be treated as a resident in the future, even if married to someone else.

 

Here’s how to make this election:

  1. Prepare your return in TurboTax.
  2. When you get to the Let’s get ready to e-file screen, select File by Mail.
  3. Attach a statement to your return, signed by each of you that states that one of you is a U.S. citizen and the other is a nonresident alien and that you’re electing to both be treated as U.S. residents for tax purposes. Include the full name, address and Social Security number (or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) of each spouse. This won’t affect the immigration status of the nonresident alien.
  4. Mail the return to the address on the instruction sheet that prints with the return.

If your spouse doesn’t have a Social Security number or ITIN, you’ll need to apply for one when you mail in your return. To do this, follow steps 1–3 above and then do this:

  1. Fill out Form W-7 and attach it to your return, as well as all necessary documentation.
  2. Mail the return to the address specified in the Form W-7 instructions.

Note: TurboTax will give you an error regarding the missing Social Security number for your spouse. You can ignore the error since you’re printing your return. @Jolapp11

 

Jolapp11
Level 1

Newly married. Wife does not yet have green card for US. Can I still file married filing joint?

Thank you very much!

So is that my only option to file either jointly or separately treating my spouse as a resident alien for tax purposes? Is there any other option that would allow us to file online, does she have to be treated as a resident alien?

Since she has no income to file and no SSN or ITIN or green card yet, can I file as single this time or is that not legal since we are married?

We also have a baby born last month that I'll be claiming as a dependent if that changes anything.

If given an option I would strongly prefer filing online instead of mailing simply because it's faster and more secure. I understand we won't have as many deductions but I do not believe that will make any significent difference in my case since I already have rental property deductions. I don't know how long we'll have to wait for the refund if we file with a W-7 and they have to process that first.

 

Thank you

John

RayW7
Employee Tax Expert

Newly married. Wife does not yet have green card for US. Can I still file married filing joint?

 

I agree with the above responses to your questions. 

 

1. Yes, your options are to file either Married Filling Separately or Married Filing Joint. 

2. If your spouse is a nonresident alien, you can treat your spouse as a resident alien for tax purposes.

3. Filing online would be your best option and would generate a faster response.  Should you have any adjustment at a later date you could always file an amended return.

 

 

Although you could file Married Filing Separately usually Married Filing Joint would be the best alternative. 

 

How you claim a non-citizen spouse to your tax return depends on your spouse's residency status. Your spouse will be either a "resident alien" or a "nonresident alien." Usually, there are two ways to tell whether a non-citizen qualifies as a resident alien:

  • The non-citizen has a "green card," which is authorization from the federal government to live and work in the United States permanently. The IRS refers to this as the "green card test."
  • The non-citizen was in the United States for at least 31 days of the year, and at least 183 days during the three-year period that includes the current year and the two years immediately before that. The IRS calls this the "substantial presence test." Learn more about how to properly count those 183 days with TurboTax's Tax Tips for Resident and Non-Resident Aliens.

 

Spouse's tax status

In general, resident aliens are taxed just like U.S. citizens. You would list a resident-alien spouse on your return and provide his or her Social Security number (SSN). If your spouse is not eligible for a Social Security number, he or she will need to apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the IRS.

If your spouse is a nonresident alien, you can treat your spouse as a resident alien for tax purposes. If you choose this option, you can file a joint tax return with your spouse and have an increased standard deduction. You increase your standard deduction, but all your spouse's worldwide income will be taxed by the United States. If you do not choose this option you may be able to use the head of household filing status as long as you have paid more than half the cost of maintaining a household for certain dependents or relatives other than your nonresident alien spouse.

 

U.S. resident aliens can use the same filing statuses available to U.S. citizens. You can claim the same deductions allowed to U.S. citizens if you are a resident alien for the entire tax year. You should refer to Form 1040Form 1040-SR and the Instructions for Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR for more information on how to claim your allowable deductions.

 

U.S. resident aliens can claim the same itemized deductions as U.S. citizens, using Schedule A of Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR. These deductions include certain medical and dental expenses, state and local income taxes, real estate taxes, interest you paid on a home mortgage, charitable contributions, and casualty and theft losses.

If you do not itemize your deductions, you can claim the standard deduction for your particular filing status. For further information, see Form 1040,  Form 1040-SR and the Instructions for Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR.

Jolapp1
Level 1

Newly married. Wife does not yet have green card for US. Can I still file married filing joint?

Thank you very much for your time and assistance.

 

You stated that filing online would be my best option which I really want to do, even if we need to amend it later, but will TurboTax allow me to file online without entering my wife's SSN or ITIN?

 

Given that she does not have either one, do we have any option to file online with TurboTax? I don't care if we file separately or jointly this time, I just want to get my taxes filed as quickly and hassle free as I can, next year she will have her green card and SSN and we'll file jointly but for this year I don't care.

 

1. What is my quickest and easiest way to file this time?

2. Is is possible to file online without her SSN or ITIN, either jointly or separately?

 

Thank you

John

DaveF1006
Employee Tax Expert

Newly married. Wife does not yet have green card for US. Can I still file married filing joint?

No you will not be able to file electronically if your spouse has no Social Security Number or ITIN. Please refer to this IRS 

link for further details.

 

 

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