Have a Tax Question? Ask a Tax Expert
First, you do have a choice ...
To determine whether it is to your advantage to treat your spouse as a resident for tax purposes, you could calculate your taxes both ways before you file your return: married filing separately including only your income, and married filing jointly including both your worldwide incomes. If your spouse has considerable income outside the U.S., it may not be to your advantage to file jointly, even though the rates are lower.
To make the choice to treat your nonresident spouse as a resident for tax purposes, you attach a statement to the joint tax return you file. The statement must be signed by both spouses and must indicate that on the last day of the tax year, one spouse is a nonresident and the other is a U.S. citizen or resident and that you choose to be treated as residents for the entire year. And you must indicate your names, addresses, and identification numbers.
Now, when you file a joint return, you would need to request an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) for your nonresident spouse, unless your spouse has a social security number. You can apply for an ITIN by filing Form W-7.
Here's an excellent article: http://voices.yahoo.com/tax-filing-status-if-spouse-not-us-citizen-10964900.html?cat=3
You can send in the W-7 with the return, but you'll have to file by mail, of course
Why does she have to file anything with the IRS when she does not live in the US and has no plans to and has no US income?
She doesn't have to
Again, you have two choices
(1) You file as married filing separately
(2) file jointly by attaching the W-7
The standard deduction is 12200 for filing jointly AND you both get a personal exemption
So, depending on your situation, there might be a tax benefit to filing separately
That's why I sad, run it bot ways above
sorry. meant to say ...a tax benefit to filing JOINTLY
So that is if I pay US taxes but I am claiming the foreign earned income exclusion. On the 1040 form, how do I handle the request for spouse info and SSN?
But on the 1040 form you still have to choose a filing status
If you choose filing separately, just tup N/A in the bos for spouse, as she does not have one
"just PUT N/A in the box ..."
That is exactly what we wanted to know. Thank you so much!
You must indicate that you are married, which means that you either file as married filing separately or jointly ... and the only way not to treat your spouse as a non-resident is to file married filing separately
glad we got there
Thanks for your time. Have a good day.
You as well!
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