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Nigel2
Level 1

Non Resident Alien Spouse how to file?

Situation: I am a US Citizen living and working abroad. My wife (NRA spouse) and I were married in 2019, she does not have an ITIN. We do not live in the US and do not have plans to move back. I have prepared my return for 2019 Tax Year as "Married Filing Separately," HoH option not chosen. She is not a dependent of me or anyone (US citizen or otherwise), we do not have children, her income is not from US sources and is not linked to the US at all. I have exempted my foreign income with form 2555 as I have done in the past.

 

The junction where I am currently at: my return is complete, ready to file by mail, need to put 'NRA' in spouse's SSN/ITIN area, sign, and send.

 

Question: in this circumstance, does my wife need to file with the IRS at all? Does she need to do a 1040 and 2555 like me? Where does the W7 fit in?

 

Thanks in advance!

1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
VictoriaD75
Employee Tax Expert

Non Resident Alien Spouse how to file?

She does not need to file a return. The W7 is used to apply for an ITIN. If she does not intend to apply for a tax identification number, this does not need to be completed.

 

If your spouse does not have a SSN or ITIN, you cannot file a joint return. You can file your US tax return as Married Filing Separately, 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 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."  In the TurboTax software, you can input any "made up" SSN or ITIN you want to, in order get through the program (we suggest 999-88-9999, 999-88-9998 or 999-88-9987, as those numbers won’t produce any TurboTax program errors in a review check) as a temporary "placeholder.”  You can then later "white out" that number when the paper pages are printed.

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3 Replies
VictoriaD75
Employee Tax Expert

Non Resident Alien Spouse how to file?

She does not need to file a return. The W7 is used to apply for an ITIN. If she does not intend to apply for a tax identification number, this does not need to be completed.

 

If your spouse does not have a SSN or ITIN, you cannot file a joint return. You can file your US tax return as Married Filing Separately, 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 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."  In the TurboTax software, you can input any "made up" SSN or ITIN you want to, in order get through the program (we suggest 999-88-9999, 999-88-9998 or 999-88-9987, as those numbers won’t produce any TurboTax program errors in a review check) as a temporary "placeholder.”  You can then later "white out" that number when the paper pages are printed.

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Lani2121
New Member

Non Resident Alien Spouse how to file?

Hello @VictoriaD75  thanks for answering this.  My question is, do I have to print out and mail or can I submit online with the placeholder ssn?  I was told other software allow you to just write NRA...

 

thanks

 

 

DaveF1006
Employee Tax Expert

Non Resident Alien Spouse how to file?

 

Yes, write NRA as suggested and print and mail the forms in.

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