Are you Married to a nonresident alien? If the answer is YES, do you have to file separately or jointly with your nonresident alien spouse? More of the question:
- Can you file single with a nonresident alien spouse?
- What would you do if your spouse does not have an SSN or ITIN?
- Would you be able to file jointly?
- How does work when you’re married to a nonresident alien spouse?
What you should know: The default filing status if you’re married to a nonresident alien is Married Filing Separately (MFS), and you can’t just Choose a tax filing status, and it is not a decision you should make, but we would share the basics to have an idea of which path works best for you and your spouse.
Can I file single if I’m married to a nonresident alien?
Let’s say you’re a US Citizen and you’ve married a Saudi while living and working in Riyadh. When tax season comes around you may wonder if you can still file single. Unfortunately, you can’t file single if married to a nonresident alien (NRA). Once you tie the knot, you must either go with Married Filing Separately or Married Filing Jointly. Even if your spouse remains in Saudi or lives in another country, the tax rules remain the same.
Married Filing Jointly with a Saudi nonresident alien spouse.
Filing jointly with a nonresident alien spouse is a popular these days, and in certain circumstances, can give you a big boost in the standard deduction. For example, let’s say you’re a U.S. citizen married to a Saudi citizen who doesn’t work. If you chose to file separately you would only get a standard deduction of $12,200 on your U.S. taxes. However, if you treat your nonresident alien spouse as a resident and filed jointly, you would get the standard $24,400 deduction for married couples. But before you jump on the married-filing-jointly option, you should know it might not be in your best interest. Keep in mind, once you file jointly and elect to treat your nonresident alien spouse as a resident, you spouse worldwide income is subject to U.S. taxation. That means your Saudi spouse will be subjected to the same U.S. taxation that you are, even if you both remain in Riyadh. If your spouse doesn’t work or makes minimal income this may not be an issue, but if your spouse has a good job and makes a high income, it might make more sense to file separately. If you do choose to treat your nonresident alien spouse as a resident there are many tax benefits that wouldn’t otherwise be available to a nonresident.
If you chose Married Filing Jointly, you’ll have to:
Attach a statement that serves as a declaration that one spouse is a nonresident alien and the other is a U.S. citizen or resident alien, and that you both choose to be treated like U.S. residents. This statement must be signed by both parties.
It is your best options to file jointly if your spouse a nonresident and does not work. But they are required to get an ITIN
Married Filing Separately with nonresident alien, such a Saudi spouse
If your spouse doesn’t file as a resident, you can file as Married Filing Separately. This is the default filing status for a U.S. citizen married to a nonresident alien. Or, if you are married to a nonresident alien, you might be able to use the Head of Household filing status. To be qualified as a Head of Household Filing when married to a nonresident alien, you must pay more than half of all household expenses, your dependents live with you, and they have a valid U.S. social security number or ITIN.
What if you’re married filing separately and your spouses don’t have a Social Security Number or ITIN? You can still e-file by indicating they are a nonresident alien without an ITIN. Or, you can let U.S. TAX GLOBAL SERVICE LLC to handle your Tax Filing for you today.
If you might be confused and you don't know how to file taxes when married to a nonresident alien? Let a trusted U.S. Expat Tax help you out. (HELP)
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