Brokerage account for NRA spouse

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canga
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:50 pm

Brokerage account for NRA spouse

Post by canga » Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:22 am

My tax accountant has said that I can contribute to a spousal Roth IRA for my non-resident alien spouse, because she is treated as a resident when we file MFJ). She has an ITIN for tax filing.

However, after filling out paperwork for both Vanguard and Schwab, both brokerages have refused to open accounts. While we have a US residence as a mailing address, we do not reside in the USA. I was told by a Shchwab rep that she would "generally" have to be present in the USA for at least 6 months out of the year to be a resident.

Has anyone actually been able to open a brokerage and Roth IRA account for a non-resident alien spouse? Which brokerage and what specific steps did you take? Very trusting experience so far. Appreciate any advice you can provide.

csm
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Brokerage account for NRA spouse

Post by csm » Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:03 am

New poster here - I've been lurking on this wonderful forum for the past year and finally registered because there was a question I could answer. :)

My husband was also an NRA spouse and we live abroad but have a U.S. home and mailing address. Once we started filing MFJ as if he were a resident, I opened a Fidelity account in his name and set up the spousal Roth IRA there (actually both a trad and Roth because we have to contribute to the trad and backdoor to the Roth each year). I used our U.S. address on the account and didn't speak to anyone about how much time we spend in the U.S. (I'm an expat currently employed abroad).

I also changed the address on my own brokerage accounts to our U.S. address because Fidelity, Vanguard and TRowe Price were all starting to fuss about the foreign address on my account, even as a U.S. citizen.

canga
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:50 pm

Re: Brokerage account for NRA spouse

Post by canga » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:52 am

Thanks! We were able to open the account at Fidelity.

How did you fund the account? It says to make a transfer from a checking account she needs to be the account owner. Unfortunately I can't seem to add her to my CapitalOne360 account.

csm
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Brokerage account for NRA spouse

Post by csm » Sat Apr 02, 2016 2:09 pm

Sorry for the delay - I just saw your post.

I've had US bank accounts with Key Bank and Bank of America for years, so funded my Fidelity account with those.

I'm trying to remember now how I funded his. I think I made my Fidelity Cash account a joint account so it shows up in both of our Fidelity online accounts and I'm able to transfer funds from the joint cash account to his IRA as needed. I also opened a new BoA joint account online with both our names because I was also unable to add him as joint owner to my existing accounts, but I can't remember what sequence we did all of this.

He became a permanent resident last year (so we converted his ITIN to SSN) and he became a U.S. citizen last month, so we've been in the process of changing accounts and documents over to his updated credentials (SSN, passport instead of green card, etc.) and my memory is blurring about which steps came in what sequence these past few years!

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in_reality
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Re: Brokerage account for NRA spouse

Post by in_reality » Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:15 pm

canga wrote:Thanks! We were able to open the account at Fidelity.

How did you fund the account? It says to make a transfer from a checking account she needs to be the account owner. Unfortunately I can't seem to add her to my CapitalOne360 account.
Can't you simply mail them a check? In the notes, I just wrote "for (wife's name) 20xx IRA"

That's simple. The issue then (unless you get her on a banking account) is when you withdraw money, it will go to the US address you used to set up the account. If you mail gets reliably forwarded to you great!!!

canga
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:50 pm

Re: Brokerage account for NRA spouse

Post by canga » Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:56 pm

I'll probably end up writing a check and using the camera option on the phone to deposit. Unfortunately it looks like Fidelity closed the account, so we'll have to call them and figure out what they need.

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