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akoko-01

Filing taxes jointly for the first time

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dear all,

we have been reading many topics about this but we need somebody who has been through this to give us a definitive, step by step, guide pleaseeee.

we filed k1 visa and we are expecting green card next week so before filing taxes. foreign husband have ssn.

can somebody tell us exactly how to file taxes jointly please?

we are concerned about the forms that we need to fill, the income that my husband earned before arriving (no paystubs), and bank accounts that he has in his name back home.

 

much much love

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Personally, I recommend new immigrants seek the help of a qualified accountant the first year who can help determine your best strategy.  Other posters might disagree.  There are strict reporting requirements for world-wide income, partial year resident reporting, foreign bank reporting, and foreign asset reporting.......just my opinion.

I hired a great account in the Dallas area who handled all reporting requirements for a very nominal fee.

 


"What I am to be, I am now becoming" - Ben Franklin         

 

      :idea:MSC (National Benefits Center) I-751 filers- Please add your data :idea:                          https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Id1duRRByZHJmhEzl9N25GqwzcnUyLCR4e4N9W6zGLg/edit#gid=0

 

Retired 20 year US Air Force Missileer (Retired E-8)

Retired Registered Nurse with practice in Labor/Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent Psych, Adult Psych

Retired IT Professional, Software Developer, Database Manager

 

Immigration Journey:

  • Texas Service Center after transfer from Nebraska
  • Consulate :Taipei, Taiwan
  • Marriage: 7/30/2015
  • I-130 NOA1 : 4/27/2016
  • I-130 Approved :9/8/2016
  • Case received at NVC: 10/11/2016                               
  • Case # and IIN#: 10/24/2016
  • AOS Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • AOS Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • IV Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • IV Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • DS-260 Completed: 10/28/16
  • Scan Date:11/9/2016
  • Supervisor review: 12/21/16 
  • Checklist: 1/13/17 
  • Case Complete: 4/10/17
  • Interview Date: 5/8/17 
  • Visa  "ISSUED": 5/10/17
  • Visa and Passport in hand/Flight to USA Booked!!!: 5/12/17  
  • POE Dallas DFW on June 22, 2017
  • SS Card received : 7/3/2017
  • 2-year Green Card received in mail: 7/15/17
  • I751 mailed to Dallas PO Box: 3/28/2019
  • I-797 extension letter  for ROC dated 4/2/2019  MSCxxxxxxxxxx received: 4/6/2019
  • Biometrics apt received for 4/25/2019: on 4/12/2019
 

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5 hours ago, akoko-01 said:

we have been reading many topics about this but we need somebody who has been through this to give us a definitive, step by step, guide pleaseeee.

No 2 people's tax circumstances are the same, so any sort of guide with such a complex process as taxes just isn't going to cut it. Some people have an SSN or ITIN. Some don't. Some people have foreign income to report. Some don't. Some are nationals of a country with a US tax treaty. Some aren't. Some paid (or will pay) foreign taxes on their income. Some won't. Some people make over an exclusion threshold. Some don't. Some people keep money in foreign accounts still. Some don't.

 

There's just too many variables to make a guide that clears confusion instead of causing it.

If doing taxes yourself, I suggest a reputable tax software service (H&R Block, TurboTax, etc.). Otherwise, use a tax specialist.

 

The general guidelines are:

  • You can file MFJ, MFS, or possibly HOH (with a qualifying non-spouse dependent).
    • MFJ usually provides the smallest tax liability. But it requires an SSN or ITIN.
  • If filing MFJ, you must report all worldwide income.
    • The FEIE (Form 2555/2555EZ) can eliminate most to all of this form being taxed in most circumstances.
    • The Foreign Tax Credit may apply as well to further limit one's tax liability.
    • No documentation of this foreign income is required to file, but is necessary in the event of an audit so collect it now and save it somewhere safe.
  • Depending on how long somebody was inside the US in the tax year, they may meet the substantial presence test and be a resident alien.
    • Spouses of a USC or LPR may be a dual-status alien who can elect to be treated as a resident alien for the entire tax year. Those individuals have to submit an election letter to claim RA status for the year. Resident alien for the entire tax year is required for MFJ. The letter precludes the ability to submit the return electronically...you have to paper file in that case.
  • Any foreign accounts in excess of $10,000 requires an FBAR.

Good luck.

Edited by geowrian
Fixed some information about the dual status condition

Timelines:

Spoiler

AOS (I-485 + I-131 + I-765):

9/25/17: sent forms to Chicago

9/27/17: received by USCIS

10/4/17: NOA1 electronic notification received

10/10/17: NOA1 hard copy received. Social Security card being issued in married name (3rd attempt!)

10/14/17: Biometrics appointment notice received

10/25/17: Biometrics

1/2/18: EAD + AP approved (no website update)

1/5/18: EAD + AP mailed

1/8/18: EAD + AP approval notice hardcopies received

1/10/18: EAD + AP received

9/5/18: Interview scheduled notice

10/17/18: Interview

10/24/18: Green card produced notice

10/25/18: Formal approval

10/31/18: Green card received

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

12/1/16: sent

12/14/16: NOA1 hard copy received

3/10/17: RFE (IMB verification)

3/22/17: RFE response received

3/24/17: Approved!

3/30/17: NOA2 hard copy received

 

NVC

4/6/2017: Received

4/12/2017: Sent to Riyadh embassy

4/16/2017: Case received at Riyadh embassy

4/21/2017: Request case transfer to Manila, approved 4/24/2017

 

K-1

5/1/2017: Case received by Manila (1 week embassy transfer??? Lucky~)

7/13/2017: Interview: APPROVED!!!

7/19/2017: Visa in hand

8/15/2017: POE

 

 

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6 minutes ago, geowrian said:

No 2 people's tax circumstances are the same, so any sort of guide with such a complex process as taxes just isn't going to cut it.

Well said!!!!   It can get complicated.....


"What I am to be, I am now becoming" - Ben Franklin         

 

      :idea:MSC (National Benefits Center) I-751 filers- Please add your data :idea:                          https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Id1duRRByZHJmhEzl9N25GqwzcnUyLCR4e4N9W6zGLg/edit#gid=0

 

Retired 20 year US Air Force Missileer (Retired E-8)

Retired Registered Nurse with practice in Labor/Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent Psych, Adult Psych

Retired IT Professional, Software Developer, Database Manager

 

Immigration Journey:

  • Texas Service Center after transfer from Nebraska
  • Consulate :Taipei, Taiwan
  • Marriage: 7/30/2015
  • I-130 NOA1 : 4/27/2016
  • I-130 Approved :9/8/2016
  • Case received at NVC: 10/11/2016                               
  • Case # and IIN#: 10/24/2016
  • AOS Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • AOS Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • IV Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • IV Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • DS-260 Completed: 10/28/16
  • Scan Date:11/9/2016
  • Supervisor review: 12/21/16 
  • Checklist: 1/13/17 
  • Case Complete: 4/10/17
  • Interview Date: 5/8/17 
  • Visa  "ISSUED": 5/10/17
  • Visa and Passport in hand/Flight to USA Booked!!!: 5/12/17  
  • POE Dallas DFW on June 22, 2017
  • SS Card received : 7/3/2017
  • 2-year Green Card received in mail: 7/15/17
  • I751 mailed to Dallas PO Box: 3/28/2019
  • I-797 extension letter  for ROC dated 4/2/2019  MSCxxxxxxxxxx received: 4/6/2019
  • Biometrics apt received for 4/25/2019: on 4/12/2019
 

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On 1/23/2019 at 12:10 PM, akoko-01 said:

dear all,

we have been reading many topics about this but we need somebody who has been through this to give us a definitive, step by step, guide pleaseeee.

we filed k1 visa and we are expecting green card next week so before filing taxes. foreign husband have ssn.

can somebody tell us exactly how to file taxes jointly please?

we are concerned about the forms that we need to fill, the income that my husband earned before arriving (no paystubs), and bank accounts that he has in his name back home.

 

much much love

Kinda off topic, but please help us Lebanese filers by filling in your timeline! There are so few of us and half of them don't finish their timelines so it's hard to get a good read on data.

 

And congrats on your new journey!!

Edited by cduran

K1 Fiance Visa: 207 days & AOS w/EAD and AP: 180 days

Spoiler

K1 Fiance Visa: 207 days                                                                                                                               AOS from K1 w/EAD and AP: 180 days

09/12/19: NOA1 old site (9/17 new site)                                                                                                     05/22/19: AOS package mailed to Chicago, IL

01/28/19: NOA2 new site (old site never changed)                                                                                   05/24/19: USCIS Received date for AOS/EAD/AP

02/19/19: NVC Received                                                                                                                                05/29/19: Notice date for AOS/EAD/AP

02/20/19: Case Number Assigned                                                                                                               06/19/19: Biometrics Appointment

04/05/19: Interview - APPROVED!                                                                                                                06/14/19: Biometrics Completed - walk in

04/08/19: CEAC-NIV Application Received                                                                                                 08/06/19: Ready to be Scheduled for Interview Status

04/09/19: CEAC-NIV Administrative Processing                                                                                       10/11/19: Interview Scheduled status

04/10/19: CEAC- Issued                                                                                                                                 11/05/19: EAD/AP approved

04/12/19: Visa in hand                                                                                                                                   11/16/19: EAD/AP card Received

04/30-5/1/19: POE via IAH - Houston, TX                                                                                                   11/18/19: AOS Interview - APPROVED! same day status change to Approved, then New Card being Produced

05/10/19: I Do's!                                                                                                                                               11/25/19: Green Card in Hand

                                                                                                                                    

ROC:                                                                                                                                                                   Citizenship:

08/18/21 or after: File ROC                                                                                                                            08/18/22 or after: File for Citizenship

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On 1/24/2019 at 2:16 AM, missileman said:

Personally, I recommend new immigrants seek the help of a qualified accountant the first year who can help determine your best strategy.  Other posters might disagree.  There are strict reporting requirements for world-wide income, partial year resident reporting, foreign bank reporting, and foreign asset reporting.......just my opinion.

I hired a great account in the Dallas area who handled all reporting requirements for a very nominal fee.

 

 

hi missleman! what if i didn't have income the whole 2018? i was unemployed in my home country (i used to live in indonesia and went home to my home country when i filled for my k1 in 2017. my k1 got approved sept 2018, i arrived in sept 5, 2018 and got married in sept 16, 2018. so in america in 2018 i couldn't work, i had no ead. do i just write a ra election letter to the irs... but how do i say i have no income to report? do i still need to answer any forms like 2555ez, 2555 or something? thanks so much!

 


K1 Visa:
Sent: 12 - 20 - 2017   ||   Received: 12 - 21 - 2017   ||   NOA 1: 12 - 26 - 2017   ||   NOA 2: 07 - 1 - 18   ||  NVC Received: 08 - 02 - 2018 

||  NVC Assigned MNC: 08 - 07 - 2018  ||   USEM Received: 08 - 09 -2018   ||  Interview Date: 08 - 20 - 2018   ||  Visa on Hand: 08 - 24 - 2018   ||  CFO Seminar: 08 - 31 - 2018    ||  POE: 09 - 05 - 2018    ||  Wedding: 09 -16 - 2018

 

AOS:
Sent: 11 - 20 - 2018   ||   Received: 11 - 23 - 2018   ||   NOA 1: 12 - 03 - 2018   ||  

 

EAD:
Sent: 11 - 20 - 2018   ||   Received: 11 - 23 - 2018   ||   NOA 1: 12 - 03 - 2018   ||  

AP:
Sent: 11 - 20 - 2018   ||   Received: 11 - 23 - 2018   ||   NOA 1: 12 - 03 - 2018   ||  

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33 minutes ago, ZKT said:

 

hi missleman! what if i didn't have income the whole 2018? i was unemployed in my home country (i used to live in indonesia and went home to my home country when i filled for my k1 in 2017. my k1 got approved sept 2018, i arrived in sept 5, 2018 and got married in sept 16, 2018. so in america in 2018 i couldn't work, i had no ead. do i just write a ra election letter to the irs... but how do i say i have no income to report? do i still need to answer any forms like 2555ez, 2555 or something? thanks so much!

 

If you had no income at all in 2018, there is no reason to report or file anything.......If you have a SSN or ITIN, you and your spouse should file a joint tax return......no letter required.


"What I am to be, I am now becoming" - Ben Franklin         

 

      :idea:MSC (National Benefits Center) I-751 filers- Please add your data :idea:                          https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Id1duRRByZHJmhEzl9N25GqwzcnUyLCR4e4N9W6zGLg/edit#gid=0

 

Retired 20 year US Air Force Missileer (Retired E-8)

Retired Registered Nurse with practice in Labor/Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent Psych, Adult Psych

Retired IT Professional, Software Developer, Database Manager

 

Immigration Journey:

  • Texas Service Center after transfer from Nebraska
  • Consulate :Taipei, Taiwan
  • Marriage: 7/30/2015
  • I-130 NOA1 : 4/27/2016
  • I-130 Approved :9/8/2016
  • Case received at NVC: 10/11/2016                               
  • Case # and IIN#: 10/24/2016
  • AOS Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • AOS Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • IV Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • IV Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • DS-260 Completed: 10/28/16
  • Scan Date:11/9/2016
  • Supervisor review: 12/21/16 
  • Checklist: 1/13/17 
  • Case Complete: 4/10/17
  • Interview Date: 5/8/17 
  • Visa  "ISSUED": 5/10/17
  • Visa and Passport in hand/Flight to USA Booked!!!: 5/12/17  
  • POE Dallas DFW on June 22, 2017
  • SS Card received : 7/3/2017
  • 2-year Green Card received in mail: 7/15/17
  • I751 mailed to Dallas PO Box: 3/28/2019
  • I-797 extension letter  for ROC dated 4/2/2019  MSCxxxxxxxxxx received: 4/6/2019
  • Biometrics apt received for 4/25/2019: on 4/12/2019
 

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1 minute ago, missileman said:

If you had no income at all in 2018, there is no reason to report or file anything.......If you have a SSN or ITIN, you and your spouse should file a joint tax return......no letter required.

 ok cool. yes i have my ssn.  i'm getting confused with some people saying file a 2555ez but put zero. like no income. and then one post i read also said make a letter of proof of no income/why unemployed. so i was so confused. i made my election for ra letter which i know i should but the other parts were confusing and i just needed clarity. thanks so much sir. i appreciate it.


K1 Visa:
Sent: 12 - 20 - 2017   ||   Received: 12 - 21 - 2017   ||   NOA 1: 12 - 26 - 2017   ||   NOA 2: 07 - 1 - 18   ||  NVC Received: 08 - 02 - 2018 

||  NVC Assigned MNC: 08 - 07 - 2018  ||   USEM Received: 08 - 09 -2018   ||  Interview Date: 08 - 20 - 2018   ||  Visa on Hand: 08 - 24 - 2018   ||  CFO Seminar: 08 - 31 - 2018    ||  POE: 09 - 05 - 2018    ||  Wedding: 09 -16 - 2018

 

AOS:
Sent: 11 - 20 - 2018   ||   Received: 11 - 23 - 2018   ||   NOA 1: 12 - 03 - 2018   ||  

 

EAD:
Sent: 11 - 20 - 2018   ||   Received: 11 - 23 - 2018   ||   NOA 1: 12 - 03 - 2018   ||  

AP:
Sent: 11 - 20 - 2018   ||   Received: 11 - 23 - 2018   ||   NOA 1: 12 - 03 - 2018   ||  

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5 minutes ago, ZKT said:

 ok cool. yes i have my ssn.  i'm getting confused with some people saying file a 2555ez but put zero. like no income. and then one post i read also said make a letter of proof of no income/why unemployed. so i was so confused. i made my election for ra letter which i know i should but the other parts were confusing and i just needed clarity. thanks so much sir. i appreciate it.

Form 2555EZ is for foreign income exclusion.  If you had no foreign income, then there is no income to exclude.......


"What I am to be, I am now becoming" - Ben Franklin         

 

      :idea:MSC (National Benefits Center) I-751 filers- Please add your data :idea:                          https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Id1duRRByZHJmhEzl9N25GqwzcnUyLCR4e4N9W6zGLg/edit#gid=0

 

Retired 20 year US Air Force Missileer (Retired E-8)

Retired Registered Nurse with practice in Labor/Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent Psych, Adult Psych

Retired IT Professional, Software Developer, Database Manager

 

Immigration Journey:

  • Texas Service Center after transfer from Nebraska
  • Consulate :Taipei, Taiwan
  • Marriage: 7/30/2015
  • I-130 NOA1 : 4/27/2016
  • I-130 Approved :9/8/2016
  • Case received at NVC: 10/11/2016                               
  • Case # and IIN#: 10/24/2016
  • AOS Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • AOS Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • IV Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • IV Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • DS-260 Completed: 10/28/16
  • Scan Date:11/9/2016
  • Supervisor review: 12/21/16 
  • Checklist: 1/13/17 
  • Case Complete: 4/10/17
  • Interview Date: 5/8/17 
  • Visa  "ISSUED": 5/10/17
  • Visa and Passport in hand/Flight to USA Booked!!!: 5/12/17  
  • POE Dallas DFW on June 22, 2017
  • SS Card received : 7/3/2017
  • 2-year Green Card received in mail: 7/15/17
  • I751 mailed to Dallas PO Box: 3/28/2019
  • I-797 extension letter  for ROC dated 4/2/2019  MSCxxxxxxxxxx received: 4/6/2019
  • Biometrics apt received for 4/25/2019: on 4/12/2019
 

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3 minutes ago, missileman said:

Form 2555EZ is for foreign income exclusion.  If you had no foreign income, then there is no income to exclude.......

thanks a lot again sir and i appreciate it so much. hope you have a wonderful day today!


K1 Visa:
Sent: 12 - 20 - 2017   ||   Received: 12 - 21 - 2017   ||   NOA 1: 12 - 26 - 2017   ||   NOA 2: 07 - 1 - 18   ||  NVC Received: 08 - 02 - 2018 

||  NVC Assigned MNC: 08 - 07 - 2018  ||   USEM Received: 08 - 09 -2018   ||  Interview Date: 08 - 20 - 2018   ||  Visa on Hand: 08 - 24 - 2018   ||  CFO Seminar: 08 - 31 - 2018    ||  POE: 09 - 05 - 2018    ||  Wedding: 09 -16 - 2018

 

AOS:
Sent: 11 - 20 - 2018   ||   Received: 11 - 23 - 2018   ||   NOA 1: 12 - 03 - 2018   ||  

 

EAD:
Sent: 11 - 20 - 2018   ||   Received: 11 - 23 - 2018   ||   NOA 1: 12 - 03 - 2018   ||  

AP:
Sent: 11 - 20 - 2018   ||   Received: 11 - 23 - 2018   ||   NOA 1: 12 - 03 - 2018   ||  

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Just to note:  My wife has foreign income, and our accountant does fill in a Form 2555 for her.......but because Taiwan and the US do not have a tax agreement, so the result is a big fat  ZERO for foreign income exclusion.😢

Edited by missileman

"What I am to be, I am now becoming" - Ben Franklin         

 

      :idea:MSC (National Benefits Center) I-751 filers- Please add your data :idea:                          https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Id1duRRByZHJmhEzl9N25GqwzcnUyLCR4e4N9W6zGLg/edit#gid=0

 

Retired 20 year US Air Force Missileer (Retired E-8)

Retired Registered Nurse with practice in Labor/Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent Psych, Adult Psych

Retired IT Professional, Software Developer, Database Manager

 

Immigration Journey:

  • Texas Service Center after transfer from Nebraska
  • Consulate :Taipei, Taiwan
  • Marriage: 7/30/2015
  • I-130 NOA1 : 4/27/2016
  • I-130 Approved :9/8/2016
  • Case received at NVC: 10/11/2016                               
  • Case # and IIN#: 10/24/2016
  • AOS Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • AOS Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • IV Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • IV Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • DS-260 Completed: 10/28/16
  • Scan Date:11/9/2016
  • Supervisor review: 12/21/16 
  • Checklist: 1/13/17 
  • Case Complete: 4/10/17
  • Interview Date: 5/8/17 
  • Visa  "ISSUED": 5/10/17
  • Visa and Passport in hand/Flight to USA Booked!!!: 5/12/17  
  • POE Dallas DFW on June 22, 2017
  • SS Card received : 7/3/2017
  • 2-year Green Card received in mail: 7/15/17
  • I751 mailed to Dallas PO Box: 3/28/2019
  • I-797 extension letter  for ROC dated 4/2/2019  MSCxxxxxxxxxx received: 4/6/2019
  • Biometrics apt received for 4/25/2019: on 4/12/2019
 

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On 4/11/2019 at 7:04 AM, ZKT said:

 

hi missleman! what if i didn't have income the whole 2018? i was unemployed in my home country (i used to live in indonesia and went home to my home country when i filled for my k1 in 2017. my k1 got approved sept 2018, i arrived in sept 5, 2018 and got married in sept 16, 2018. so in america in 2018 i couldn't work, i had no ead. do i just write a ra election letter to the irs... but how do i say i have no income to report? do i still need to answer any forms like 2555ez, 2555 or something? thanks so much!

 

 

You have several topics mixed together so let me help you separate them.

 

Filing Jointly

In order to file jointly for 2018, you need to be a resident alien. That means you must have (a) permanent resident status...a greencard OR (b) physical presence in the US for a certain length of time. You have neither for 2018 because you arrived late in the year.

 

BUT the IRS will allow you to be treated as a resident alien for tax filing purposes because you are married to an American. That means you can do taxes as a resident alien even though USCIS hasn't given you a greencard yet. That allows you to file a joint return. The IRS says you and your spouse must put it in writing if you choose to do this. You both have to sign a written statement saying that's what you choose to do. It is included with your tax return. There is no built in IRS form for this statement, so e-filing won't work. Generally those who have to write a statement, print out their return, add in the statement they wrote/signed, and mail it to the IRS. 

 

Foreign Earned Income

Often new immigrant spouses worked part of the year in their home country before moving to the US. If they file a joint return, they have to report every bit of money that was earned anywhere in the world. Many foreign countries have a tax treaty with the US that says you don't have to pay taxes to two countries on the same earnings. The foreign spouse puts her foreign earnings on the joint US tax return , but she can use Form 2555 that allows the foreign earnings  to not have US tax applied to them.

 

In your case, you have no foreign earnings. So you don't have to do Form 2555. You don't have to tell the IRS you earned zero in 2018. Only your husbands earnings will be entered in the tax return because that's the only money earned in 2018 by the joint filers (you and him). That's easy.  Some people think you only file jointly if both people had earnings. Not true. Husband and wife can file Married Filing Jointly even if only one of them worked like in your case.

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22 minutes ago, Joan58 said:

@Wuozopo great info!

I am in US on K1 and married as of March 2019. I have 2 Canadian Pensions so I am wondering if I can keep paying Can. Tax vs US Tax when filing jointly for 2019?

I don't know the specific Canadian/US tax rules. But if you reside in the US and earn money, then your duty is to pay/file with the IRS. Most treaties say pay the place where you reside. Even if I was working online for a totally UK company, the treaty says pay the taxes to the US and do not file a UK tax return. All the treaties can be found by searching the IRS website.

 

 I  know that I can collect my three UK pensions here in the US when I reach the proper age. I also am accruing Social Security retirement in the US. My Social Security check will be reduced by whatever I collect in UK "state pension" as they are both government retirements and won't allow you to double dip per the SSA...Google WEP on ssa.gov. My two private pensions do not affect my Social Security retirement. You will probably need to check with your Canadian pension plans to find out how you collect and the terms. 

Edited by Wuozopo

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