non-resident alien tax questions

Discussion in 'US Taxes' started by Joe N., Nov 20, 2006.

  1. Joe N.

    Joe N. Guest

    Thanks in advance for any knowledgable replies.

    My wife is a non-resident alien who has been never even stepped
    foot in the United States and works for a foreign-based bank in the Middle
    East. She has been waiting for over a year on US Customs and Immigration to
    approve her immigrant visa.
    Before I filed my 2005 taxes, I had to get her an ITIN number and
    file "married filing separately".

    My questions are:

    1. Is there anything I need to do for 2006 taxes other than list her ITIN
    on my 1040A form?

    I'm assuming that since she has not yet even been allowed to enter the US
    and works for a foreign company she would not be required to report her
    income for any tax purposes?

    2. Do I list her as an exemption on my 1040A?

    Last year I didn't list her as an exemption and the IRS said that I
    underestimated my refund amount and issued me a larger refund than I
    figured, but didn't give the reason for their decision.

    Thanks again!
    Joe N., Nov 20, 2006
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  2. Joe N.

    Gene Long Guest

    1. Is there anything I need to do for 2006 taxes other than list her ITIN
    No, you don't even have to bother with her ITIN. Just file a 1040-EZ
    form as if you were single.

    Do not file a 1040A. Go with the 1040-EZ and file single instead of
    married. It will be a lot less complicated.

    Even if your wife was living in the USA, she wouldn't have to file a
    tax return until she becomes a citizen.
    Gene Long, Nov 21, 2006
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  3. Joe N.

    Phil Marti Guest

    To OP: You cannot file Single if you're married.
    Phil Marti, Nov 21, 2006
  4. Joe N.

    aufein Guest

    If you are legally married to a non-resident alien you can affirmativly
    elect to file married filing jointly and as such your wife elects to be
    taxes as US citized or resident. If you filed your 2005 tax returns on
    the basis married filing jointly you may effectively did so (even
    though you probably did not included the statement). With that, you
    effectively subjected your wife's income to double taxation: once by
    including non-US sourced income into your 2005 Federal income tax
    return and by filing (I assume your wife files so) a foreign income tax
    return. Did you claim foreign tax credit? I strongly recommend that
    you talk to a CPA who specializes in the expatriate taxation. If your
    wife works in a Middle East country Tax Treaty benefits may not be
    aufein, Nov 25, 2006
  5. Joe N.

    Bill Martin Guest

    <If you are legally married to a non-resident alien <you can affirmativly
    elect to file married filing jointly

    Wouldn't filing jointly be a tremendous blunder in such a case? If the US
    citizen files "married filing separately", the non-resident alien wife
    wouldn't even have to file a return for income earned abroad working for a
    foreign company.
    Bill Martin, Nov 26, 2006
  6. I have been trained as a Foreign Tax Specialist in Canada.

    In general, we do not put the Non-Resident Spouse on the US Tax Return,
    instead electing to file Married, Filing Separately, for US purposes.
    This will put the NRA liable for US taxes. The exception would be if
    the NR Spouse has no income. In that case, it is better to claim the

    As for someone suggesting 1040EZ over 1040A, that may not be the case.
    US Citizens have three choices for filing their return. There are times
    when it is your advantage to file with the more complex return, the
    1040. Each situation is different. Choose appropriately to your
    situation that year.

    And for looking up a CPA who specializes in the expatriate taxation,
    please watch your terms! Expatriate taxation refers to someone leaving
    the US and not coming back. Incorrectly filing that claim would provide
    you with seven years of hell with the IRS once they determine you are
    trying to defraud the government. Instead, look for a CPA specializing
    in foreign taxes and foreign exclusions rather than expatriation. It is
    like saying you had a wash sale on your stock sell - Wash Sale is a
    technical term under IRC, while selling for a loss is different. A US
    Wash Sale is a Canadian Superficial Loss.
    parrisbraeside, Nov 26, 2006
  7. Joe N.

    Bill Martin Guest

    <This will put the NRA liable for US taxes. The exception would be if the NR
    Spouse has no <income.

    A non-resident alien spouse who works abroad for a foreign company is not
    liable for any US taxes, correct? Why would they be?
    Bill Martin, Nov 27, 2006
  8. A NRA who elects to file a US Tax Return is liable to pay US taxes.
    There are some things which can be done, but once you put the NRA on a
    US Tax Return, they are liable.

    (Note: Foreign Income Exclusion may well prevent this but I was talking
    no income for income tax purposes... realized that was not clear. FIE
    is not perfect as high income earners find out.)
    parrisbraeside, Nov 27, 2006
  9. Joe N.

    C. Evans Guest

    <There are some things which can be done, but once you put the NRA on a US
    Tax Return, they are <liable.

    First of all, it is mandatory to put the non-resident alien spouse ITIN on
    the tax form when filing "married filing separately" with the IRS, and they
    can be claimed as an exemption. However, (unless I am mistaken) listing the
    non-resident alien spouse's ITIN on the tax form and claiming them as an
    exemption does not make them liable for reporting their income to the IRS if
    all of the income is earned abroad from a foreign business entity.
    C. Evans, Nov 27, 2006
  10. Joe N.


    Apr 15, 2011
    Likes Received:
    I have a similar situation here:

    I have a U.S citizen wife (in Texas, community property state) and a non-resident alien husband. The NRA has no filing requirement.

    NRA husband have earned wages in his foreign country. NRA pay taxes on his wages to his country.
    They have a small amount of 1099-INT and foreign earned interest under their joint accounts. (less than $100)

    I would think it is best for the US citizen wife to file married filing separately and NRA would best not to file a return since there is no filing requirement. For the US citizen wife, she has to report the 1099-int and foreign interests for her foreign accounts.

    Does she has to report half of her NRA husband's foreign wages ?

    Any advices would be appreciated.
    ho_yan_chow, Apr 15, 2011
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