Skip to content
Trusted Answers From Licensed Business Professionals

Filing Taxes With Your Non-Resident Alien Spouse

This is a common situation for many foreigners that come to America. Here’s the scenario: this is your first year filing taxes and you recently moved to the United States. However, your spouse and family remain in your country of origin until you establish yourself financially. Now you’re wondering how to file your taxes. Can you file jointly or separately and what other considerations should be noted?

tax-return-mistakesCan I file a joint return with my non-resident alien spouse?
Yes, if one spouse was a nonresident alien or dual-status alien who was married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the end of the year, the spouses can choose to file a joint return. If you do file a joint return, you and your spouse are both treated as U.S. residents for the entire tax year. Thus, both you and your spouse’s worldwide income will be subject to US income tax. This is referenced in IRS Publication 501 & IRC Section 6013(g).

You can make an election to file jointly by attaching a statement, signed by both spouses, to your joint return for the first tax year for which the choice applies. It should contain the following information:

A declaration that one spouse was a nonresident alien and the other spouse a U.S. citizen or resident alien on the last day of your tax year, and that you choose to be treated as U.S. residents for the entire tax year.

Does my non-resident alien spouse need a Social Security number?
Please note that your spouse does need either a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). To get an SSN for your spouse, apply at a social security office or U.S. consulate. You must complete Form SS-5. You must also provide original or certified copies of documents to verify your spouse’s age, identity, and citizenship. If your spouse is not eligible to get an SSN, he or she can file Form W-7 with the IRS to apply for an ITIN.

What about my children?
You may also claim the child as a dependent that is living overseas only if the child is a US citizen and you and your spouse are resident aliens for tax purposes.

More tax questions? Browse answers or ask tax questions online. You can also find accountants online here.

Related Articles
->Tax Filing Mistakes To Avoid On Your 2013 Return
->When Can I Expect My 2013 Tax Refund?
->What Documentation Do I Need To Deduct Charitable Donations?
->Are You Overlooking These 2013 Tax Deductions?
->How Much Can You Expect To Pay Your Accountant This Year?

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
Leave a Comment