US citizen living abroad -- filing US tax return.


A

alisonlevi

Hello everybody.

I am a US citizen and my husband is a nonresident. We both
currently live abroad. I didn't work during the entire tax
year (no personal income of any kind). My husband did work
for a local company. He's total gross earnings were about
$20,000.00. How should we file our tax return with the IRS?
When we lived in the US, we always used a CPA to do our
taxes, but I can't find anyone here who could help us, so
some of the questions might sound silly, sorry if they do.

If we file a joint income tax return (my husband has a US
social security number and he lived in the US before, but he
is not a US resident or a citizen), then my questions are:

1. Should we use form 1040 or 1040A? Our taxes should be
really simple. We didn't make a lot of money and we didn't
have any complicated income or whatever. Just the $20K and
that's pretty much it, but we do have a child.

2. On the 1040(A) form, who should be the primary taxpayer?
Or should there be a separate 1040 for my husband and
myself? Again, we are filing jointly.

3. What should I put on the 2555 form? No employer, no
income? Or should I put there my husband's employer and
income?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

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B

Bill Brown

I am a US citizen and my husband is a nonresident. We both
currently live abroad. I didn't work during the entire tax
year (no personal income of any kind). My husband did work
for a local company. He's total gross earnings were about
$20,000.00. How should we file our tax return with the IRS?
When we lived in the US, we always used a CPA to do our
taxes, but I can't find anyone here who could help us, so
some of the questions might sound silly, sorry if they do.
If I understand correctly you had no income during 2006 and
your non- resident alien husband had no U.S. source income
during 2006. If that is correct you are not required to file
a 2006 U.S. income tax return. On the other hand, if by
"local company" you mean your husband worked during 2006 in
the U.S. while you still lived there then he does need to
file a return.
If we file a joint income tax return (my husband has a US
social security number and he lived in the US before, but he
is not a US resident or a citizen), then my questions are:
If you file a joint return, your husband will have to pay
taxes on his world wide income. If he has U.S. source
income, a joint return with you MIGHT reduce your total tax
liability.
1. Should we use form 1040 or 1040A? Our taxes should be
really simple. We didn't make a lot of money and we didn't
have any complicated income or whatever. Just the $20K and
that's pretty much it, but we do have a child.
It doesn't make any difference whatsoever unless you meet
the threshold that requires Form 1040.
2. On the 1040(A) form, who should be the primary taxpayer?
Or should there be a separate 1040 for my husband and
myself? Again, we are filing jointly.
It doesn't make any difference whatsoever but you should do
it the same way every year.
3. What should I put on the 2555 form? No employer, no
income? Or should I put there my husband's employer and
income?
If you file a joint return with your husband, then he will
be treated as a resident alien for U.S. income tax purposes.
If he also had foreign source EARNED income, then he should
complete Form 2555 if he qualifies to exclude that income
from U.S. taxation.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.
More specific answers to your questions cannot be provided
without knowing whether your husband and any U.S. source
income. Also needed is information on when, if at all, he
lifed in the U.S. during 2006.
 
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L

L K Williams

I am a US citizen and my husband is a nonresident. We both
currently live abroad. I didn't work during the entire tax
year (no personal income of any kind). My husband did work
for a local company. He's total gross earnings were about
$20,000.00. How should we file our tax return with the IRS?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.
If your husband is not a US citizen or greencard holder, he
may not be required to file a US return. If he WAS NOT a
greencard holder before you probably made an election
(consciously or not) for him to be taxed on his worldwide
income as though he were a resident. That election remains
in effect until you elect out. Electing out is simple but
it means that you cannot make the election again without IRS
permission. However, if you do elect out, he does not have
to report his income to IRS.

If he was a greencard holder, no election was required -- he
had a tax obligation in his own right. Now, if his
greencard was surrendered, he no longer has a filing
obligation. If you do file a joint return, you will be
effectively making such an election.

If you have no income, you have no filing requirement.
Should you chose to file jointly, you must include ALL
worldwide income on that return.

The exclusion, using Form 2555, is personal to each of you.
You cannot use his exclusion and he cannot use yours. The
person earning the money must meet all qualifications on
his/her own in order to claim the exclusion. In the event
you both have income, you both must file Form 2555 to claim
the exclusion of any income.

You don't say where you are, so specific advice is not
possible. I work with clients in many locations, am an
expat myself, am a CPA (California), and specialize in expat
returns.

Lanny K. Williams, CPA
Nawarat, Williams & Co., Ltd.
Income Tax Services for Expatriate Americans
 
Last edited by a moderator:
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P

parrisbraeside

I am a US citizen and my husband is a nonresident. We both
currently live abroad. I didn't work during the entire tax
year (no personal income of any kind). My husband did work
for a local company. He's total gross earnings were about
$20,000.00. How should we file our tax return with the IRS?
When we lived in the US, we always used a CPA to do our
taxes, but I can't find anyone here who could help us, so
some of the questions might sound silly, sorry if they do.

If we file a joint income tax return (my husband has a US
social security number and he lived in the US before, but he
is not a US resident or a citizen), then my questions are:

1. Should we use form 1040 or 1040A? Our taxes should be
really simple. We didn't make a lot of money and we didn't
have any complicated income or whatever. Just the $20K and
that's pretty much it, but we do have a child.

2. On the 1040(A) form, who should be the primary taxpayer?
Or should there be a separate 1040 for my husband and
myself? Again, we are filing jointly.

3. What should I put on the 2555 form? No employer, no
income? Or should I put there my husband's employer and
income?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.
Answered in us.taxes already
 
Last edited by a moderator:

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