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Lev
Lev, Tax Advisor
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 22632
Experience:  Taxes, Immigration, Labor Relations
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my wife is Canadian and does not have a SSN. when I fill out

Resolved Question:

My wife is Canadian and does not have a SSN. When I fill out my tax return "married filing separetely" the forms requires my wife's SSN. We don't live in the states and she does not have US residency, no SSN, no ITIN. How can I complete my tax return without leaving this blank and having it returned to me?

I researched getting her an ITIN, but that can only be obtained by sending the form W-7 along with her tax return. She does not need to file a return, but I do.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Lev replied 3 years ago.

LEV :

Hi and welcome to Just Answer!

LEV :

You will not be able to file your tax return electronically. You should print your tax return and mail it to the IRS. You may add a note that your wife has no income from US sources, and neither US citizen nor resident for tax purposes.

LEV :

You may file a joint tax return if you choose so - in this case you need to use the form W-7 and apply for ITIN for your spouse. Generally - you might want to compare which way is more beneficial for you.

LEV :

Please let me know if you need any help or clarification.

Customer :

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX print and mail in the form. I just want to know what to input in the space asking for my wife's SSN. I don't want to leave it blank. I heard I can write in "NRA" in this space, short for Non Resident Alien. is this acceptable?

LEV :

NRA in the place of tax ID is not acceptable - leave it blank. 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, notarized, or certified proof of identity and foreign status documents.
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: XXXXX XXXXXX Service Center ITIN Operation P.O. Box 149342 Austin, TXNNN-NN-NNNN/p>

Customer :

I just want to ensure you understand the original question - I have a SSN, I am filing the tax return for myself, but I am asked for my wife's SSN. The instructions for form W-7 require the applicant for the ITIN to send the applicant's tax return. But, my wife does not need to file, so I believe she does not need an ITIN. So, I am not filing my tax return as an attachment to the ITIN application. I just got married in 2010, my wife has no US income, she is not a US citizen or resident, she does not need to file.

LEV :

The IRS doesn't issue SSNs - for that your wife need to file an application with Social Security Administration.


The form W-7 is used to apply for ITIN - tax ID that is used in place of SSN. You would need to do so if you both decide to file a joint tax return.


You are correct – your wife is not required to file an US tax return unless she want to do that. If you decide not to file a joint tax return - you may file using filing status Married Filing Separate and file without your wife however most likely your refund will be less.

LEV :

So all depends on your decision - to file jointly or you will file alone.

Customer :

I think you now have a good understanding of my situation. The question is, what should I do with the blank where the form is asking me for my Wife's SSN or tax ID? Should I leave it blank, write in NRA or put in some other explanation?

LEV :

Yes - I do understand your situation.


First of all you need to decide how you will file - as married filing separately or as married filing jointly with your wife. Following steps will be different based on that decision.

LEV :

If you decide to use filing status “married filing separately” - you do not need to mention your wife on the tax return and do not need to report neither her name nor tax ID.


If you decide to use filing status “married filing jointly” - that means you both agree to treat your wife as an US resident for tax purposes - you should file your tax return with your wife's name and blank tax ID field and attach that tax return to her ITIN application on the form W-7.

Customer :

no, I don't think that is correct. I will file married filing separately, but line 3 of form 1040 is checked for married filing separately and asks me to "enter spouse's SSN and full name". I intend to leave the SSN blank, but I have to mention my wife's name, right? how can I be filing married separately and not have a wife's name?

LEV :

Please see instructions for the form 1040 - http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040.pdf page 13 - for the line 3 - Be sure to enter your spouse’s SSN or ITIN on Form 1040 unless your spouse does not have and is not required to have an SSN or ITIN.


That is exactly your situation - your spouse does not have and is not required to have an SSN or ITIN – so simply do not enter it. You might not be able to file electronically.

Customer :

Excellent. Thank you

Lev, Tax Advisor
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 22632
Experience: Taxes, Immigration, Labor Relations
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