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2015 taxes when arrived as K1 in July, no GC yet

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Hey guys!

My husband is getting ready to file his taxes for 2015. I've been trying to figure all of this out by Googling, but I'm not sure which status really applies to me at the moment, so I thought I'd ask the experts. :)

I arrived in the US in July on the K1 visa, and we got married in August. I got my EAD in November (still awaiting GC), but haven't worked in the US in 2015. I did have income in my home country though.

How should we file taxes for 2015? MFJ? Can he claim the spousal exemption for me when I'm not yet an LPR? Do I even need to file as (and if not, can he still claim the exemption)?

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This link should help some with filing status: https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Det…

As to your foreign income, other more knowledgeable members will likely respond, or consult a tax professional.

Good luck on your immigration journey.


Completed: K1/K2 (271 days) - AOS/EAD/AP (134 days) - ROC (279 days)

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File as MFJ for 2015. Your husband will get the tax benefit for the entire year despite only being married for 4 months of the year. You have to show your earnings in your home country for 2015, but it's only taxable when it reaches a certain threshold. I don't know what that threshold amount is. You'll have to google it, use a software tax package or consult professional advice to find out the threshold amount. Good luck. Oh, and I believe you will also count as a spousal exemption for 2015.


Marriage: 2014-02-23
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If you decide you don't want to include your NRA spouse's income on your U.S. tax return, you generally will have to use the filing status of "married, separate".

If you file as “married, separate” AND your spouse has no income from sources within the US AND is not claimed as a dependent of another US taxpayer, you CAN claim an exemption for your NRA spouse (See IRS Publication 17). You need to be sure to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification number for your spouse before filing the return. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw7.pdf

Head of Household Status—if you have persons that may qualify you to use “Head of Household” status (such as a child living at home that is a US citizen) and you choose to treat your spouse as a non-resident alien, you can use the Head of Household filing status. Note that the foreign spouse is not a qualifying person for Head of Household purposes. (See IRS Publication 17 for details on who is a “qualifying person”) The tax rates and standard deduction for this filing status are much superior to that of the "married, separate" filing status.

Unlike the "choice" you made with regard to treating your spouse as a resident alien, there is no additional paperwork involved with treating your spouse as a nonresident alien for tax purposes. And if you find that the "married, separate" status has too many negative tax implications, you may decide that in future years you want to file "married, joint" by simply making the choice and attaching the statement described above.

However the tax tables favor the married filling jointly

It is better here to ask IRS

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You are considered a dual status alien for 2015: non resident alien and resident alien. You can however elect to be treated as a resident alien for the entire year 2015 and hence file MFJ with your U.S. citizen spouse. This allows you the benefit of the lower tax brackets and lower tax overall. You would be reporting worldwide income but there is a foreign income exclusion of up to $100,800 for tax year 2015.

You do not need an ITIN if you already have your SSN.

Remember that the choice to be treated as a resident alien for the entire tax year 2015 is an election. A statement needs to be attached to the tax return stating you are both making the election.

I would advise to look up a do-it-yourself tax prep software such as TurboTax maybe but research first as some of their versions are very basic. Either that or have your taxes prepared by a tax professional.

Note: filing MFJ and claiming a spousal exemption are two different things in the tax world.


Maria ~ U.S. Citizen Petitioner

 

11/28/15: Engaged (L)

K-1 & K-2 Process (Completed in 4 mos. 8 days)

 

1/19/16: I-129F Package recv'd by USCIS via FedEx overnight

1/21/16: NOA1 notice date, routed to CSC (1/28 recv'd hardcopy)

3/18/16: RFE Notification (3/23 recv'd hardcopy)

3/28/16: RFE Response Recv'd notification (3/26 delivered via USPS priority)

4/1/16: NOA2 Approval :dancing: (4/6 recv'd hardcopy)

4/25-4/26/16: NVC received case & assigned no. (5/2 recv'd hardcopy dated 4/29)

4/28/16: Left NVC, "In Transit" to consulate

5/2/16: Consulate Receives via DHL

5/9/16: Fiancée travels to CDJ to clear Case # issue & recv'd hardcopy appt letter

5/13/16: Medical & Biometrics Appt.

5/17/16: Interview Appt. - APPROVED :dance:

5/19/16: CEAC Status changed from "Ready" to "Issued"

5/23/16: Recv'd DHL tracking info via email

5/25/16 @10am: Package ready for pickup at DHL office; @3pm: Fiancée picks up packages - Visas in hand! :thumbs: 

8/5/16: Wedding (L)

AOS/EAD/AP Process, K-1 & K-2 (Completed in 4 mos. 15 days)

 

9/21/16: Package recv'd by USCIS via FedEx overnight [Day 1]

9/29/16: NOA1 notice date, text/email recv'd, routed to NBC, 10/4 case status avail [Day 9]

10/6/16: NOA1 Hardcopies recv'd [Day 16]

10/15/16: Biometrics Notice recv'd, NOA date 10/7, postmark 10/12 [Day 25]

10/19/16: AOS Cases (I-864) RFIE Notification, text recv'd, 10/24 recv'd hardcopy [Day 29]

10/27/16: Biometrics (Scheduled) Appt for AOS/EAD - Success [Day 37]

11/2/16: AOS Cases, RFIE Response Recv'd case status update, 10/28 delivered via FedEx) [Day 43]

12/14/16: EAD Cases, Filed SR w/ Tier 2, approaching regulatory timeframe [Day 85 / 76 w/ 9day RFIE delay]

12/21/16: EAD Cases, Filed 2nd SR w/ Tier 2, 1st SR hadn't even been looked at [Day 92]

12/23/16: AOS Case Status Updates - Interview Scheduled, text recv'd [Day 94] :dancing:

1/5/17: AOS Interview Appt Hardcopies recv'd, notice date 12/21/16 (Based on notice date, I believe 2nd SR prompted action on AOS cases) [Day 107]

1/9/17: EAD Cases Status Updates - New Card in Production, email recv'd [Day 111 / 102 w/ 9day RFIE delay]

1/12/17: EAD Cases Status Updates - Card Was Mailed, no email/txt [Day 114 / 105 w/ 9day RFIE delay]

1/14/17: AP Cases - Approval notice hardcopies recv'd, no email/txt/online update [Day 116 / 107 w/ 9day RFIE delay]

1/17/17: EAD/AP Combo Card recv'd via USPS Priority Mail [Day 119 / 110 w/ 9day RFIE delay]

1/27/17: AOS Interview :star: - APPROVED!! :dance:  [Day 129 / 120 w/ 9day RFIE delay ~ 4 mos.]

1/27/17: AOS Case status update - Approved | 1/31/17: New Card in Production | 2/1/17: Card Was Mailed

2/4/17: Green Cards Arrived :dancing:

ROC Process (Window opens up Oct 2018)

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Hey guys!

My husband is getting ready to file his taxes for 2015. I've been trying to figure all of this out by Googling, but I'm not sure which status really applies to me at the moment, so I thought I'd ask the experts. :)

I arrived in the US in July on the K1 visa, and we got married in August. I got my EAD in November (still awaiting GC), but haven't worked in the US in 2015. I did have income in my home country though.

How should we file taxes for 2015? MFJ? Can he claim the spousal exemption for me when I'm not yet an LPR? Do I even need to file as (and if not, can he still claim the exemption)?

Your best answer is post #6 from Maria.

File Married filing jointly.

Write the statement saying you wish to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes.

Use form 2555EZ to exclude your foreign income.

Print a paper return and mail it (with your statement).

Buy TurboTax and install on your computer. I have compared it doing a return with TurboTax Online, TurboTax App on IPad, H&R Block desktop software. It is the easiest to understand and use. (H&R Block gave me free software to install last year and for grins I did my tax return from scratch on it. It came out exactly the same as TurboTax, but was not as intuitive to use.) With purchased software, you can print a paper return, You can look at individual forms. You can do unlimited returns. Some of those things don't happen easily or at all with the "free" online, which isn't really free.

TurboTax Basic will handle the foreign Income exclusion. You might be more comfortable with TurboTax Deluxe which may do a little more hand holding. Many places put it on sale in January/Fevruary, so wait a few weeks and compare prices. It is often hard for me to find Basic because they push Deluxe and higher. If you live in a state with a state income tax you might want to look for one which includes state filing. Even plain old Basic does offer a state return download for a fee once you get Into it.


England.gifENGLAND ---

K-1 Timeline 4 months, 19 days 03-10-08 VSC to 7-29-08 Interview London

10-05-08 Married

AOS Timeline 5 months, 14 days 10-9-08 to 3-23-09 No interview

Removing Conditions Timeline 5 months, 20 days12-27-10 to 06-10-11 No interview

Citizenship Timeline 3 months, 26 days 12-31-11 Dallas to 4-26-12 Interview Houston

05-16-12 Oath ceremony

The journey from Fiancé to US citizenship:

4 years, 2 months, 6 days

243 pages of forms/documents submitted

No RFEs

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Great, thanks to both of you! :) This really cleared it up for me.

Your best answer is post #6 from Maria.
File Married filing jointly.
Write the statement saying you wish to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes.
Use form 2555EZ to exclude your foreign income.
Print a paper return and mail it (with your statement).

Buy TurboTax and install on your computer. I have compared it doing a return with TurboTax Online, TurboTax App on IPad, H&R Block desktop software. It is the easiest to understand and use. (H&R Block gave me free software to install last year and for grins I did my tax return from scratch on it. It came out exactly the same as TurboTax, but was not as intuitive to use.) With purchased software, you can print a paper return, You can look at individual forms. You can do unlimited returns. Some of those things don't happen easily or at all with the "free" online, which isn't really free.

TurboTax Basic will handle the foreign Income exclusion. You might be more comfortable with TurboTax Deluxe which may do a little more hand holding. Many places put it on sale in January/Fevruary, so wait a few weeks and compare prices. It is often hard for me to find Basic because they push Deluxe and higher. If you live in a state with a state income tax you might want to look for one which includes state filing. Even plain old Basic does offer a state return download for a fee once you get Into it.

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Great, thanks to both of you! :) This really cleared it up for me.

I just noticed that you are in San Antonio so no state return to file. And I did a little research on current TurboTax. It seems that Deluxe offers more guidance if you itemize deductions. You get a standard deduction of $12,600 (for a couple). You would only itemize if you had more than that you could come up with such as property taxes, mortgage interest, donations to charities/church/thrift shops, etc... Many couples starting out don't have more than $12,600 in those kinds of things so would use the standard deduction. If so, using Basic would suffice. The going price right now is $29.99. Deluxe is more in the $59.99 range, but I did see it just now for digital download from Amazon around $39.

I use Basic every year because I'm cheap and I try to find it for $20 or less. I have found it handles deductions, our business/self-employment, investments, capital gains and losses, foreign bank accounts, and will do the foreign income exclusion. Last year was the one exception when TurboTax got sneaky and removed needed forms in their lesser priced software. I would have had to move up to the $99 range. It backfired on them. That's why H&R Block gave away software to win over TurboTax customers. In the end because of so many complaints, TT said buy what you used last year and we will upgrade you free to the level you need with a special code. And they apologized and promised that 2015 would go back to offering the needed forms in the lower tier software. I checked. They have.


England.gifENGLAND ---

K-1 Timeline 4 months, 19 days 03-10-08 VSC to 7-29-08 Interview London

10-05-08 Married

AOS Timeline 5 months, 14 days 10-9-08 to 3-23-09 No interview

Removing Conditions Timeline 5 months, 20 days12-27-10 to 06-10-11 No interview

Citizenship Timeline 3 months, 26 days 12-31-11 Dallas to 4-26-12 Interview Houston

05-16-12 Oath ceremony

The journey from Fiancé to US citizenship:

4 years, 2 months, 6 days

243 pages of forms/documents submitted

No RFEs

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Hey!

Sorry to breathe life into this old thread, but it is kind of an extension of it.

We've just had our quotes done, and apparently, if my US citizen spouse files without me (married head of household, I believe), he somehow gets about $1000 more back on his taxes than if we file MFJ. But - if he files "without me", I understand that my name won't be on any of the tax return paperwork, and we might get some trouble out of this when I go in for my AoS interview.

We talked to one of the consultants at H&R Block, and she didn't even say anything about writing a statement to say I want to be treated as a resident - all they mentioned there was the "resident test", which I guess I don't pass because I didn't live in the US for 6+ months in 2015.

Does anyone have any insights on this? We're just so confused now.

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Hey!

Sorry to breathe life into this old thread, but it is kind of an extension of it.

We've just had our quotes done, and apparently, if my US citizen spouse files without me (married head of household, I believe), he somehow gets about $1000 more back on his taxes than if we file MFJ. But - if he files "without me", I understand that my name won't be on any of the tax return paperwork, and we might get some trouble out of this when I go in for my AoS interview.

We talked to one of the consultants at H&R Block, and she didn't even say anything about writing a statement to say I want to be treated as a resident - all they mentioned there was the "resident test", which I guess I don't pass because I didn't live in the US for 6+ months in 2015.

Does anyone have any insights on this? We're just so confused now.

You do not pass the resident test. However being married to a USC, you have an option to elect to be treated as one for doing taxes. See this from the IRS which is covered in IRS Publication 519 https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/Nonresident-Spouse-Treated-as-a-Resident

it you choose to be a resident, your husband would not qualify for Head of Household status (which means children in his home he supports). I think your tax rep is thinking Head of Household is a better tax break than Married Filing Separately. That's correct. BUT--

I don't think your rep worked out the same tax return jointly with you choosing to be treated as resident. I believe that was not considered as an option because they don't know that part of tax law. Filng Jointly, your husband gets credit for an additional person (you), plus the kids. Even reporting your foreign income and excluding it on Form 2555, I feel pretty sure that would result in an even bigger refund than the Head of Household status. But you have to try both ways to know.

You should file the way that saves you the most money, not what you heard would please USCIS. Even a separate return says married and lists your name, whether you are counted in the tax computation or not. You are still identified as married.


England.gifENGLAND ---

K-1 Timeline 4 months, 19 days 03-10-08 VSC to 7-29-08 Interview London

10-05-08 Married

AOS Timeline 5 months, 14 days 10-9-08 to 3-23-09 No interview

Removing Conditions Timeline 5 months, 20 days12-27-10 to 06-10-11 No interview

Citizenship Timeline 3 months, 26 days 12-31-11 Dallas to 4-26-12 Interview Houston

05-16-12 Oath ceremony

The journey from Fiancé to US citizenship:

4 years, 2 months, 6 days

243 pages of forms/documents submitted

No RFEs

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I agree with Nich-Nick here above... and it does sound like the person at H&R Block didn't know tax law very well with respect to this subject. I def would recommend looking for an independent tax preparer instead... they tend to be more interested in helping and if they don't know something well they will do the research to assist you.


Maria ~ U.S. Citizen Petitioner

 

11/28/15: Engaged (L)

K-1 & K-2 Process (Completed in 4 mos. 8 days)

 

1/19/16: I-129F Package recv'd by USCIS via FedEx overnight

1/21/16: NOA1 notice date, routed to CSC (1/28 recv'd hardcopy)

3/18/16: RFE Notification (3/23 recv'd hardcopy)

3/28/16: RFE Response Recv'd notification (3/26 delivered via USPS priority)

4/1/16: NOA2 Approval :dancing: (4/6 recv'd hardcopy)

4/25-4/26/16: NVC received case & assigned no. (5/2 recv'd hardcopy dated 4/29)

4/28/16: Left NVC, "In Transit" to consulate

5/2/16: Consulate Receives via DHL

5/9/16: Fiancée travels to CDJ to clear Case # issue & recv'd hardcopy appt letter

5/13/16: Medical & Biometrics Appt.

5/17/16: Interview Appt. - APPROVED :dance:

5/19/16: CEAC Status changed from "Ready" to "Issued"

5/23/16: Recv'd DHL tracking info via email

5/25/16 @10am: Package ready for pickup at DHL office; @3pm: Fiancée picks up packages - Visas in hand! :thumbs: 

8/5/16: Wedding (L)

AOS/EAD/AP Process, K-1 & K-2 (Completed in 4 mos. 15 days)

 

9/21/16: Package recv'd by USCIS via FedEx overnight [Day 1]

9/29/16: NOA1 notice date, text/email recv'd, routed to NBC, 10/4 case status avail [Day 9]

10/6/16: NOA1 Hardcopies recv'd [Day 16]

10/15/16: Biometrics Notice recv'd, NOA date 10/7, postmark 10/12 [Day 25]

10/19/16: AOS Cases (I-864) RFIE Notification, text recv'd, 10/24 recv'd hardcopy [Day 29]

10/27/16: Biometrics (Scheduled) Appt for AOS/EAD - Success [Day 37]

11/2/16: AOS Cases, RFIE Response Recv'd case status update, 10/28 delivered via FedEx) [Day 43]

12/14/16: EAD Cases, Filed SR w/ Tier 2, approaching regulatory timeframe [Day 85 / 76 w/ 9day RFIE delay]

12/21/16: EAD Cases, Filed 2nd SR w/ Tier 2, 1st SR hadn't even been looked at [Day 92]

12/23/16: AOS Case Status Updates - Interview Scheduled, text recv'd [Day 94] :dancing:

1/5/17: AOS Interview Appt Hardcopies recv'd, notice date 12/21/16 (Based on notice date, I believe 2nd SR prompted action on AOS cases) [Day 107]

1/9/17: EAD Cases Status Updates - New Card in Production, email recv'd [Day 111 / 102 w/ 9day RFIE delay]

1/12/17: EAD Cases Status Updates - Card Was Mailed, no email/txt [Day 114 / 105 w/ 9day RFIE delay]

1/14/17: AP Cases - Approval notice hardcopies recv'd, no email/txt/online update [Day 116 / 107 w/ 9day RFIE delay]

1/17/17: EAD/AP Combo Card recv'd via USPS Priority Mail [Day 119 / 110 w/ 9day RFIE delay]

1/27/17: AOS Interview :star: - APPROVED!! :dance:  [Day 129 / 120 w/ 9day RFIE delay ~ 4 mos.]

1/27/17: AOS Case status update - Approved | 1/31/17: New Card in Production | 2/1/17: Card Was Mailed

2/4/17: Green Cards Arrived :dancing:

ROC Process (Window opens up Oct 2018)

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