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sekharan

Can a F1 student file, as a non-resident, a joint tax return with US Citizen wife

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My income through CPT, as a F1 student for 2012 was $50k, of which I have paid $300 in state and federal taxes as I was a part time employee of a company from Jan - March 2012 (income ~$13k).

I then started working as a contractor for them from March 2012 and am liable to pay taxes for that income (~$40k).

My wife, a US Citizen, had absolutely no gross income during 2012.

To save myself from paperwork, I will submit my 1040 by Jan 31st 2013 so that I don't have to submit a 1040-ES in the meantime.

My intentions are:

1. ... to file as a non-resident as this gives me two benefits:

  • I don't need to pay FICA, at all, on all my income
  • I get to use the Tax treaty in effect between India and the US that allows me to claim one standard deduction

2. ... to file jointly as I expect to be able to claim her standard deduction in my tax as well.

1 and 2 might be contradictory and this "double dipping" might not be something the IRS formally entertains and there might be clauses in the IRS code that specifically excludes such activity.

Perhaps if I were to file jointly with my wife, I would have to elect to be treated as a resident first (hence requiring to pay FICA on all the income so far?)

F-1 student visa holders are typically exempt from paying FICA taxes for their first 5 years. It is a blanket exemption with the only qualification being that the person be a nonresident for tax purposes. I arrived here in Dec 2011 so I am "safe".

This is the first time I am filing a tax return. Wife has always used family CPA and does not know the details (her income was 0 anyways and was claimed as dependent)

Hence, my questions are:

  • Can I file jointly (hence getting two standard deductions) as a non-resident (hence not requiring to pay FICA for 2012)
  • Would the rules be "different" for Federal and State (California) tax returns?

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Uh...sounds like a question for H&R Block

I don't know if I would take tax advice from a no-face on an immigrant forum

good luck


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I think you might want to find an accountant a bit higher up than H&R block to help with this. It sounds relatively like you know what you're doing but its a little complicated to be honest. I totally agree... Don't be no-naming this on the internet. Best of luck. This may cost you more than a normal tax return will but it would probably be worth it to make sure it's done right.


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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They probably will advise you to file separately because you cannot claim a resident wife as non-reisdent.

We had the same problem and we just filed under "resident" so that we ended up paying more taxes - at least IRS is happy if you pay more taxes.

It's just what we did to be safe, you might want to consult an accountant, but they charge a fee which may be higher than what you could save on taxes. With 13K income, I think you won't be paying much taxes at all. We had around 12.5K and paid no tax after deductions and college credits.

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You have two options to file and that is married filing jointly or married filing seperately. Do you have a SSN or ITIN (I assume so as you are working)? You can file jointly and claim yourself as a resident for ncome tax purposes. All you have to do is sign a statement with your wife attesting to that fact. You could file as seperately and as a non-resident. You need to look at the big picture of how much tax you will owe in each situation.

Good luck,

Dave

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I thank you for the replies - perhaps I overwhelmed all of you with too much details and my question should have been more simple!

I ask you this: Can I, as the husband of a US Citizen, choose to file as a non-resident if I filed a "married filing separately" tax return?

More details here: forums/topic/407326-can-the-alien-husband-of-a-us-citizen-choose-to-file-as-a-non-resident/

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You have two options to file and that is married filing jointly or married filing seperately. Do you have a SSN or ITIN (I assume so as you are working)? You can file jointly and claim yourself as a resident for ncome tax purposes. All you have to do is sign a statement with your wife attesting to that fact. You could file as seperately and as a non-resident. You need to look at the big picture of how much tax you will owe in each situation.

Good luck,

Dave

I would sincerely appreciate your answer to this: http://www.visajourney.com/forums/topic/417580-effect-of-filing-married-filing-separately-tax-return-on-aos-based-off-marriage/

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I agree that this isn't H&R block level, and I'm not sure you should trust any of us. You've been given advice on how to find someone in another thread...

Also, the 1040-ES is one of the easiest IRS forms I've seen to fill out. The important thing is to pay your withholding. $300 is extremely low if you're looking at resident rates.

What country are you from? Anything that is a "harder" consulate? They might prefer married-filing-jointly.

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