US citizen marrying abroad

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Topic Author
ketanco
Posts: 130
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:09 pm

US citizen marrying abroad

Post by ketanco » Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:31 am

When a US citizen lives and marries abroad, with a foreign person,

during tax time, if he files as married filing separately, then is there still paperwork to do for the spouse in any way? or she becomes completely out of equation, and the US citizen just files just his return, as if he is doing single with only exception is that he marks "married filing separately" and that is it? nothing else?

brolytiz
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: US citizen marrying abroad

Post by brolytiz » Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:45 am

I believe if you file married you have to enter wife SS number.
If she does not have one, she can apply for ITIN number.
If you file as single I believe you will be fine, except your standart deduction will be lower than filling as married.

brolytiz
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: US citizen marrying abroad

Post by brolytiz » Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:50 am

Filing a tax return with a non-resident alien spouse


If a person is not a US citizen, permanent resident or resident alien, they are considered a non-resident alien.

There are several reasons why someone is a non-resident alien.

They live abroad

They were in the US but don’t meet the Substantial Presence Test

They are in the US but are an exempt individual (J, Q, F, M, A, G visa holders meeting certain conditions, see http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Internat ... tial-Prese...)

Generally, a non-resident alien (NRA) cannot file a joint return. That would mean that if you are married to a NRA, you would need to file as married filing separately or HoH if you have a qualifying child and meet the HoH requirements.

Filing married filing separately requires providing the SSN/ITIN for your spouse. However, NRAs often do not have an ITIN/SSN. If they are not required to get an ITIN (meaning they are not required to file a US tax return), you can file without it and write “NRA” in the field for the ITIN/SSN. Note however, that you wont be able to e-file doing this.

If the NRA spouse has no US source income, the other spouse can also take an exemption for the NRA spouse on a married filing separately return. In order to do this, the NRA spouse needs to apply for an ITIN if they don’t have an SSN/ITIN.

Another option is to file married filing jointly. Since an NRA can not do that, both spouses need to sign a statement that they both choose to treat the NRA spouse as a resident alien for the entire year. This allows them to file jointly. The choice is valid for any following year unless suspended or revoked.

Treating the NRA spouse as resident alien means that they are required to report worldwide income. If they have foreign earned income, they might be able to use the foreign earned income exclusion on form 2555(if the meet either the bona fide residency or physical presence test) and/or use the foreign paid tax credit on form 1116.

Filing jointly will also require the NRA spouse treated as resident alien for tax purposes to have an SSN or ITIN.

For more info read here:

Publication 519:

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Publication-519, ... r-Aliens-1

http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Internat ... broad---No...

Topic Author
ketanco
Posts: 130
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:09 pm

Re: US citizen marrying abroad

Post by ketanco » Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:11 am

ok so if the US citizen files as married filing separately,

there is no paperwork required for the foreign spouse, and on his tax return, the US citizen writes NRA in place where it asks the foreign spouses ITIN SSN right? but the only thing is that the US citizen can not efile and can not get a credit like this right?

or

the US citizen can get a ITIN for his foreign spouse, and in that case, he can get a credit, so it will be more advantageous, because he can both efile and can get a tax credit? but in this case there is no other paperwork for the spouse again right? I mean she and her income is totally out of equation again, or she must now also report something to US just because she has ITIN now?

and again, i like to remind that the couple lives abroad, and the foreign spouse has no US source income

clip651
Posts: 506
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:02 am

Re: US citizen marrying abroad

Post by clip651 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:20 am

It is likely you will want to find an accountant or tax professional in your country of residence that can handle taxes for the USA as well as the country where you live. This will help you follow current rules, give you someone to go to for advice on questions as they come up, and keep on top of changes in tax law as they occur over the years.

best wishes,
cj

typical.investor
Posts: 1364
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:17 am

Re: US citizen marrying abroad

Post by typical.investor » Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:38 am

clip651 wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:20 am
It is likely you will want to find an accountant or tax professional in your country of residence that can handle taxes for the USA as well as the country where you live. This will help you follow current rules, give you someone to go to for advice on questions as they come up, and keep on top of changes in tax law as they occur over the years.

best wishes,
cj
Maybe, but they like to charge too much.

I found TurboTax to be quite helpful. Actually, I file Head-of-Household even though I am married (because I have a child, NRA spouse, and pay for the household). Yes, I can and TurboTax handles it fine. It also does a nice job on figuring out IRA eligibility and depending on version self employment taxes. It's great for figuring out the FEIE (Foreign Earned Income Exclusion) or Foreign Tax Credit (which sometimes is more advantageous than the FEIE).

The only thing I don't see it being able to handle is ownership of a foreign corporation which requires special forms. Pass-through entities seem to be handled fine, but I am just getting started.

I use tax software for my country of residence too, so if you have to use an accountant for that, and you can find one that can handle your US returns too for a decent price, then it could be worth it.

typical.investor
Posts: 1364
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:17 am

Re: US citizen marrying abroad

Post by typical.investor » Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:42 am

ketanco wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:11 am

the US citizen can get a ITIN for his foreign spouse, and in that case, he can get a credit, so it will be more advantageous, because he can both efile and can get a tax credit? but in this case there is no other paperwork for the spouse again right? I mean she and her income is totally out of equation again, or she must now also report something to US just because she has ITIN now?
Having an ITIN doesn't make it necessary to file for a spouse who otherwise isn't required. I remember it being easy to get but that was years ago and forgot what forms I needed to submit. The IRS kindly sent a reminder to apply for a new one as its expiring but my wife has a social security number already.

And if your wife pressures you to get her a green card, just say no unless you really, really have firm plans to move to the US. It's not just the tax implications (which might look like nothing if she doesn't have income), but rather trying to get into the US on a green card after having been away.

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