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I have the following tax question, related to residency and…

Dear JustAnswer,I have the following...
Dear JustAnswer,I have the following tax question, related to residency and the "married filed jointly" status.I am currently unmarried (never married). My fiancee and myself are planning on marrying on Dec 30 this year (2017). We did not really plan to marry just at the end of the year.. but this turned out to be the best date (for reasons unrelated to tax). However, I am concerned about the tax implications of marrying on that day (as opposed to in 2018).I am a US citizen, whereas my fiancee is a foreign citizen. She has been in US on her F-1 visa during the entire 2017. She first arrived to US in October 2016, and we have lived together in the same apartment in California during the entire 2017. I earned all of our income during this year (more than $100,000). She has been going to school and had no income; I paid her tuition, and all of our housing and living expenses.I know that normally, F-1 students are non-resident aliens for tax purposes during the first 5 years (she entered US in 2016, so she is well within the 5 years).My question is: If we marry on Dec 30 this year (2017), are we going to be able to claim her as a resident for tax purposes for the entire 2017 year, and file one common joint "married filing jointly" tax return for tax year 2017?Note that if we only married in 2018 (say, in early January), then we would both simply file as a "single" for the tax year 2017.I read the "U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens (Publication 519)" on the IRS website, specifically relevant is "Nonresident Spouse Treated as a Resident". On page 9. if I am reading it correctly, it says that it will be possible for my fiancee and soon-to-be-wife to assume the tax resident status for the entire 2017, and we will be able to file the joint return, "married filing jointly".Can you please clarify if this is indeed the case? If we marry on Dec 30, are we going to be able to file a "married filing jointly" federal tax return 2017? Am I interpreting page 9 of Pub 519 correctly? Or, am I missing some important point here, some pitfall, or similar?Also, can you please answer the same question also for California state taxes.If this doesn't work for any reason, and we marry on Dec 30, I am concerned that we may be forced to file "married filing separately" for 2017. The difference in taxes between "single", "married filing jointly" and "married filing jointly" is substantial in our case (thousands of dollars).Thank you for your help.
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Answered in 3 hours by:
12/9/2017
Barbara
Barbara, Enrolled Agent
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 6,400
Experience: 20+ years of experience in tax preparation; 30+ years of experience as a real estate/corporate paralegal.
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Welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you.

The IRS considers your filing status on the last day of the year to be your filing status for the entire year. If you marry on December 30, you are considered married for all of 2017 and can either file married filing jointly or married filing separately.

What you have cited in Publication 519 is correct. Your soon-to-be wife can elect to be treated as a resident for tax purposes, and you can use the married filing jointly status. By electing to be treated as a U.S. resident for tax purposes, her WORLDWIDE income is subject to reporting and taxation in the U.S.

You can use the married filing jointly filing status in California as well.

Please let me know if I can assist you further.

Thank you and best regards,

Barb

Barbara
Barbara, Enrolled Agent
Category: Tax
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Experience: 20+ years of experience in tax preparation; 30+ years of experience as a real estate/corporate paralegal.
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