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Tracy-->NY

Filing tax return for first time

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This is my first time filing a tax return and I'm planning to do so via Turbo Tax.  As for my filing status I'm trying to figure out if it should be MFS or MFJ, as my husband is still awaiting his interview but would have been in the US with me for about 5 months of 2016, but he doesn't have a SSN or ITIN. 

 

Is it advisable for me to try to file the return on my own or have a professional tax payer do it.  Makes me miss how much simpler my taxes were to do back home :blink:

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17 minutes ago, Tracy-->NY said:

he doesn't have a SSN or ITIN. 

 

Is it advisable for me to try to file the return on my own or have a professional tax payer do it.  Makes me miss how much simpler my taxes were to do back home :blink:

Hii Tracy!

 

I just filed with Turbo Tax.. Only two things to note, you HAVE to file "married filing single" and you can't say he lived with you even if he visited you for 5 months (that's just a vacation).

You do not fill out anything in the empty slot that is reserved for his SS or ITIN on the computer-just leave it blank even when it reroutes you back to it to correct it. It will indeed let you print the tax return with this blank.

 

Do NOT file electronically. Make your TurboTax payment after recording your W-2's, etc...

 

Make your selection for Mail filing and you will be given an address that you must "snail mail" your tax return to. You must attach copies of your W-2 to your Tax Return documents and then do NOT forget to handwrite "NRA" or "Non-Resident Alien" in the space reserved for your husband's SS/ITIN.

 

Do not forget to sign your Tax Return because there is no electronic signature and it will be void without your sign-off.... (think NVC)

 

Be aware that you lose some benefits because you can't file jointly, but hopefully you have other deductions that will help you out this year. 

 

All the best!

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Need a little more info-- have you been in the US all year as a Perm Resident or Citizen?  if so, you will be taxed on your worldwide income.

Is your husband currently in the US waiting to adjust to permanent resident (that is he is a nonresident alien applying to be a permanent resident)?  Meaning he arrived 5 months ago and has been living with you from like Aug to Dec?  

 

If this is your set of facts, you have two options.  File Married filing Joint and do an election for your husband to be treated as a permanent resident for the entire year.  The consequences are that he will be taxed on his worldwide income (from Jan 1 to the time he arrived in the US) which is somewhat unfair if he made a lot of money before arriving to the US.

 

You may also file married filing separate.  The downside is that you lose some of the benefits a MFJ couple gets.  Your husband would also file Married Filing Separate as a part year resident.  He would only be taxed on his US source income which should be zero if he didn't work here-- so he wouldn't even have an obligation to file.  I'd recommend he does file a zero return (if starts the clock on the IRS statute of limitations for how far back they can audit).  

 

Read IRS Publication 519.  Pay particular attention to page 8 titled, "Choosing Resident Alien Status" which talks about how your husband could make the election to considered a permanent resident for the entire year (which enables you to file Married filing joint).  Like I said, you might pay more if he earning a lot of income overseas-- but do the calculation.

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