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jgordosea, Enrolled Agent
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 3159
Experience:  I've prepared all types of taxes since 1987.
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I am a US Green Card holder since June 25, 2013. Am i required

Customer Question

I am a US Green Card holder since June 25, 2013.
Am i required to file a tax return for the year ending Dec 31, 2013, if so when I should file such return. Further,I am 65 years old and I receive a tax exempt pension benefit from Jordan, is this pension subject to incom tax in the US.
My wife and four daughters doesn't work and has no income, can we file a joint tax return
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  jgordosea replied 2 years ago.



As a resident alien you do have to file an income tax return if your gross income is more than the filing requirement.

For 2013, the amount is

for married, filing jointly:
under 65 (both spouses) $20,000
65 or older (one spouse) $21,150
65 or older (both spouses) $22,200
for married, filing separately:
any age $3,900.


Yes, you can file jointly with your spouse.

If your spouse is not a citizen or resident alien you must choose to include all of her worldwide income to file jointly. See


Whether or not the pension from Jordan is subject to US income tax is a bit more complex question. There is not an income tax treaty with Jordan and the US, so you will have to apply the US rules to that pension. The fact that this pension is not taxed by Jordan does not affect whether or not it is taxable to the US.


In general, pension income is taxable to a US resident or citizen to the extent that the money in the account is not due to contributions made by the taxpayer and those contributions were subject to US tax when the amount was contributed.


Rules for pension taxation are discussed at length in the publication at


When I have prepared tax returns for residents with a pension from another country it is the tax treaty that can be used to not have the pension subject to tax. Otherwise, the general rule is that a pension is taxable (except to the extent amounts have already been taxed, as mentioned).


"In general, you can recover the cost of your pension or annuity tax free over the period you are to receive the payments. The amount of each payment that is more than the part that represents your cost is taxable "



So, whether the pension is fully or partly taxable primarily depends on whether you had a cost or not for the pension. You may need to analyze the facts to make this determination.


If your spouse does not have much worldwide income it will be more beneficial to file a joint return than a separate return.


Please ask if you need more discussion or clarification.

Thank you.



Customer: replied 2 years ago.

if i understand you correctly, if my income is less than $21,500 i am not required to file annual income tax return, please advise.

can you please advise the income tax rates applicable to people earnings more than $21,500 and applicable allowaces and exemptions.


my daughters are over 18 years old and have no income, are they required to file annual tax return.

Expert:  jgordosea replied 2 years ago.

Hello again,


For a married filing joint couple (and one spouse is less than 65 or older) when gross income is less than $21,150 no federal income tax return is required.


For a single person less than 65 no return is required when gross income is less than $10,000.

If your daughters have no income in 2013, then no income tax return is required.


Not sure if you have foreign accounts, but you should be aware of the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) which is separate from income tax reporting. You, your spouse or your daughters may need to file this report.

See Who Must File an FBAR at

"United States persons are required to file an FBAR if:

  1. The United States person had a financial interest in or signature authority over at least one financial account located outside of the United States; and
  2. The aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the calendar year to be reported.

United States person means U.S. citizens; U.S. residents; entities, including but not limited to, corporations, partnerships, or limited liability companies, created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States; and trusts or estates formed under the laws of the United States."


Rates, allowances and standard exemption amounts for 2013 can be found at


Basically those income amounts at which one is required to file are the total of the standard deduction and exemption for the filing status and age of the taxpayer. That is, there is no income that will be due (and so no return is needed) because the exemption and standard deduction would reduce that amount of gross income to zero taxable income.


There are obviously many other possible deductions and credits that can be used for those that are required to file a tax return.

If you want to ask a specific question on that you can put my name in the question so other experts know to let me help you.


Please ask if you need more help on this question of being required to file for 2013.


Thank you for the opportunity to be of service.




Customer: replied 2 years ago.


Expert:  jgordosea replied 2 years ago.

Hello again,


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Thank you.

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