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Moved to USA, married a US citizen, both self-employed and first year filing jointly - what tips/tricks should we know?

I moved to the USA in Feb 2019, got married to a US citizen in May 2019 and obtained a work permit/started working in October 2019. This will be our first year filing jointly and we are both self-employed. We've gone through most of the system with TurboTax but there were a few questions that obviously weren't quite tailored to our situation, most revolving around asking questions that would only apply to my wife (having been paying taxes to the IRS for years). For example, we're being charged a penalty for not making estimated payments in 2019, but for me I could have only made estimated payments between October and December, so it seems wrong to be charged a full penalty on that. 

 

I just wondered if anybody here has any tips or tax breaks that would help us, or if my status as a resident alien (awaiting a Green Card) means that we should potentially be filling in any different forms or going about the process differently? I assume whatever we do we're almost guaranteed to have the lowest tax owed by filing jointly rather than 'married separately'?

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2 Replies
KarenJ2
Expert Alumni

Moved to USA, married a US citizen, both self-employed and first year filing jointly - what tips/tricks should we know?

Please see this link for The TurboTax Guide to Avoiding Estimated Tax Penalties.  which can help in your situation.  You can use the annualized installment methods.

 

Also, the IRS can waive the penalty due to unusual circumstance and it would be inequitable to impose a penalty.

 

IRS Penalty for Underpayment of Estimated Tax.

 

As you are not a full year resident, you and your spouse need to make an election to file a married filing jointly tax return.  You need to sign a statement that you attach to your tax return.  You will need to mail your return.  The statement should be attached to your return before mailing.

 

Please see Publication 519, page 8, Choosing Resident Alien Status.

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Moved to USA, married a US citizen, both self-employed and first year filing jointly - what tips/tricks should we know?

Thanks for the links! Unfortunately we already finished filing so the advice came a little too late but we'll know for next time. I think we did end up trying to use the annualized installment method, but it was very confusing so not sure if we did it right. 

 

Also, I'm not quite sure what you meant by this as we are already filing as 'married filing jointly'?

 

As you are not a full year resident, you and your spouse need to make an election to file a married filing jointly tax return.

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