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Thank you for your question. When you are here for basically the entire year, you will be a US Resident for tax purposes (not immigration purposes). As such, you can file a joint tax return and treat your wife as a US resident as well. You can select married. This is just to withhold your tax -- you will calculate your tax next year around this time and pay any shortfall or get a refund of overpayment
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You cannot ignore the instructions on the W4.
An F1 VISA holder under the substantial presence test is not considered to be "present in the United States" during the exempt individual period for purposes of determining the residency starting date under the substantial presence test.
A nonresident alien may claim only "single" filing status on line 3 of Form W-4, even if he is married. Unless you have stayed past your VISA requirement under F1 status you are a nonresident and you cannot claim married.
With certain exceptions, a nonresident alien cannot claim more than one personal exemption on Form W-4. Based on treaty provisions some F1 holders are allowed to claim their spouse and dependents as allowances. This would provide a lower withholding.
You may be able to claim an exemption for a spouse and a dependent if you are described in any of the following categories.
Claiming an additional allowance as long as you qualify is allowed but you may not claim married on the W4.
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