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taxprora
Level 2

question about client with non resident alien family.

My client is filing US taxes for the first time. His wife and children live in Africa. What are his options for filing? The family members do not have SSN or ITIN. Could he file MFS to keep things simple? Or will it be worth his time and effort to file for their ITINs, and an extension for filing taxes, if ITINs do not come in time?

2 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
ToddL99
Employee Tax Expert

question about client with non resident alien family.

He would file his return (by mail) along with the request for their ITINS. No extension is necessary, because he would not have to wait for the ITINs.

 

He can file "Married, Filing Separately", but won't get the tax benefits of Married Filing Jointly unless he can include his non-resident spouse on his tax return.

   

He can file a joint U.S. tax return with his non-resident spouse (and dependents) and that spouse can be treated as a U.S. resident for U.S. Federal Individual Income Tax purposes.  

 

His non-resident spouse (and dependents on the return) will have to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) using Form W-7, he will have to file his return by mail (along with the Form W-7) and will have to include a statement, signed by both taxpayer and spouse, declaring 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 the non-resident spouse  chooses to be treated as U.S. resident for the entire tax year. 

 

How do I apply for an ITIN? Use the latest revision of Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to apply. Attach a valid federal income tax return, unless you qualify for an exception, and include your original proof of identity or copies certified by issuing agency and foreign status documents. 

 

See Instructions for Form W-7 

 

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 ITIN Operation 

P.O. Box 149342 

Austin, TX 78714-9342  

 

For additional information, see the IRS web article Nonresident Spouse Treated as a Resident 

 

Important: You can't prepare and print a tax return in TurboTax without an ITIN or SSN for you, your spouse and any dependents. 

 

The work-around for this situation is to use "Dummy" SSN/ITINs for your dependents. to prepare the return. You can use your own SSN/ITIN with different last numbers.  

 

Or use "305-44-0001, 0002, 0003 etc.", a dummy number we use for training. 

 

This should allow you to get through the Smart Checks and Reviews and print your return for filing by mail. "Erase" or white-out the dummy SSN/ITINs and replace with "Applied For".  

 

View solution in original post

JeffreyR77
Expert Alumni

question about client with non resident alien family.

The children will not provide your client any tax benefits. 

 

To qualify for either a Child Tax Credit, or Other Dependent Tax Credit, the child needs to be either a US citizen, a US national or a resident alien. 

 

Your client's children do not meet any of those cases. 

 

There is no reason for applying for ITINs for these children at this time as there is no tax reason for them to have ITINs at this time.

 

Publication 972 (see Qualifications for Child Tax Credit)

View solution in original post

5 Replies
ToddL99
Employee Tax Expert

question about client with non resident alien family.

He would file his return (by mail) along with the request for their ITINS. No extension is necessary, because he would not have to wait for the ITINs.

 

He can file "Married, Filing Separately", but won't get the tax benefits of Married Filing Jointly unless he can include his non-resident spouse on his tax return.

   

He can file a joint U.S. tax return with his non-resident spouse (and dependents) and that spouse can be treated as a U.S. resident for U.S. Federal Individual Income Tax purposes.  

 

His non-resident spouse (and dependents on the return) will have to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) using Form W-7, he will have to file his return by mail (along with the Form W-7) and will have to include a statement, signed by both taxpayer and spouse, declaring 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 the non-resident spouse  chooses to be treated as U.S. resident for the entire tax year. 

 

How do I apply for an ITIN? Use the latest revision of Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to apply. Attach a valid federal income tax return, unless you qualify for an exception, and include your original proof of identity or copies certified by issuing agency and foreign status documents. 

 

See Instructions for Form W-7 

 

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 ITIN Operation 

P.O. Box 149342 

Austin, TX 78714-9342  

 

For additional information, see the IRS web article Nonresident Spouse Treated as a Resident 

 

Important: You can't prepare and print a tax return in TurboTax without an ITIN or SSN for you, your spouse and any dependents. 

 

The work-around for this situation is to use "Dummy" SSN/ITINs for your dependents. to prepare the return. You can use your own SSN/ITIN with different last numbers.  

 

Or use "305-44-0001, 0002, 0003 etc.", a dummy number we use for training. 

 

This should allow you to get through the Smart Checks and Reviews and print your return for filing by mail. "Erase" or white-out the dummy SSN/ITINs and replace with "Applied For".  

 

View solution in original post

taxprora
Level 2

question about client with non resident alien family.

Hello ToddL99

 

Thank you for that very detailed response that clarified the confusion I had about this.

I would like to get confirmation on 2 more questions please, if you don't mind answering as well:

1) He has children, also non-resident aliens: I believe he can only claim them as qualifying relative? is that right?

2) also, just to confirm, in case he decides to file MFS for 2020, will he still have the option of filing MFJ in future years? would he need to attach a statement signed by him and his wife stating they are opting to file MFS for this tax year?

 

thank you again.

taxprora
Level 2

question about client with non resident alien family.

I also just realized that my client has 3 children, over the age of 18. Does he need to put them on the return and/or apply for ITIN for them? he has 1 child who is 15 years old.

JeffreyR77
Expert Alumni

question about client with non resident alien family.

The children will not provide your client any tax benefits. 

 

To qualify for either a Child Tax Credit, or Other Dependent Tax Credit, the child needs to be either a US citizen, a US national or a resident alien. 

 

Your client's children do not meet any of those cases. 

 

There is no reason for applying for ITINs for these children at this time as there is no tax reason for them to have ITINs at this time.

 

Publication 972 (see Qualifications for Child Tax Credit)

View solution in original post

taxprora
Level 2

question about client with non resident alien family.

Appreciate your response.

Thank you!

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