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chikaka

How Important is Joint Tax Return for ROC?

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Posted (edited)

How important is filing a joint tax return for Removal of Condition on your green card?

I really feel like filing a joint tax return gives us a much smaller refund.... than filing it separately, for some couples. Being married and having double income means we have to pay more taxes?

 

I am married, and I have filed a tax return for 2018 with my spouse. What was sad was that our refund was very little (less than $500). 

 

We both worked the entire 12 months in 2018, and we both had income. Since having a joint tax return is a strong evidence that the marriage is bona fide, even though it is not mandatory, I still didn't wanna risk the chance of success, and so we filed it jointly. However, it resulted in a very small refund. I first tried entering W2 information for both of us jointly on one of the major tax websites, and it showed me the small refund.

 

Being very disappointed, I tried entering my W2 information only. to see how much refund I would get if I were single, and it resulted in a refund of more than $1000!!

After that, I tried entering my spouse's W2 information only as well, and it also resulted in a refund of more than $1000!!

 

This result is very disappointing. If we filed the tax return separately, we could have gotten a refund of more than $2000 together. But because of the joint tax return, it resulted in less than 1/4 of it!

I know joint tax returns are not mandatory for ROC, but USCIS and many websites strongly recommend having that as a proof of bona fide marriage.

 

Is this just how it is, and there is nothing we can do about this? This is very frustrating. Like, if we were both US citizens and married, we could file tax returns separately to get a bigger refund. 

Is there anyone who can share the same experience?

 

Edited by chikaka

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As long as you filed as married, you're fine. It doesn't matter if you filed jointly or separate.


K1

29.11.2013 - NoA1

06.02.2014 - NoA2

01.04.2014 - Interview. 

AoS

03.2015 - AoS started.

09.2015 - Green Card received.  

RoC

24.07.2017 - NoA1.

01.08.2018 - RoC approved. 

 

 

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Just now, Roel said:

As long as you filed as married, you're fine. It doesn't matter if you filed jointly or separate.

Is there such an option as filing as married but separately?

 

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, chikaka said:

Is there such an option as filing as married but separately?

 

Yes. You can file as single, married jointly or married separately.

 

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/choosing-the-correct-filing-status

Edited by Roel

K1

29.11.2013 - NoA1

06.02.2014 - NoA2

01.04.2014 - Interview. 

AoS

03.2015 - AoS started.

09.2015 - Green Card received.  

RoC

24.07.2017 - NoA1.

01.08.2018 - RoC approved. 

 

 

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I agree with the above as long as you filed married you should be fine, but as @gregcrs2 mentioned, you should go back and check your calculations related to filing married by separate.

 

Good Luck!


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Edit:  The tax rate for Single vs MFS should be about the same effective 2018.  


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Posted (edited)

When you file MFS, both tax returns (you and your spouse) must be the same for deductions.  In other words, both of you must take the standard deduction or both of you must itemize.  You are not required to file MFJ for ROC.  Just don't file single.

Edited by gregcrs2

Removal of Conditions

12/29/2018  Sent ROC package to Dallas PO Box by USPS Priority Mail. 

12/30/2018  ROC package arrived & ready for pickup at Dallas PO Box at 7pm.

12/31/2018  USCIS received date

01/03/2019  Credit card transaction alert received at 7:10am authorizing charge of $680 to USCIS Dallas Lockbox

01/03/2019  Received text message from USCIS stating original receipt to follow in mail and a receipt number starting with MSC.

01/07/2019  Added receipt number to myaccount.uscis.dhs.gov/ and it shows case received and nothing to do at this time.

01/11/2019  Received US Postal Service Informed Delivery email at 8:20am showing incoming letter from USCIS.

01/11/2019  Received biometric appointment in the mail.  Biometric appointment is for 01/22/2019

01/14/2019  Completed walk-in biometric at Tampa Field Office.

01/29/2019  Filed an online e-request due to no I-797 receipt mailed to date.  Received automated email to expect a reply by Feb. 20.

01/30/2019  E-request response received.  They will send a duplicate receipt and we should receive it within 30 days.

02/04/2019  Informed delivery show an incoming letter form USCIS.  Won't know if it is a copy or original extension letter as we are out of country for about another 2 weeks and mail is on hold until then.

02/19/2019  USPS delivered our "hold mail" today.  Received an original 18 month extension letter.   Notice date is 01/30/2019.

04/13/2019  Checked case status online.  Case is ready to be scheduled for an interview as of 04/04/2019

 

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If you want money in your tax refund, adjust withholdings on w-4 to remove at a higher tax rate as a single filer. Then you’ll get more money come tax return time. Still you’ll file as mfj but because you gave US government money to hold for you (overpaid) you’ll get more on your tax return. 


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It sounds to me as if you might benefit from a tax professional this year.  A good tax person will run your taxes in different ways and recommend the best strategy for your situation.  You certainly can file "Married Filing Separately" if you want.  You tax returns and your tax transcript will include your spouse's name and SSN/ITIN.


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1 hour ago, Loren Y said:

The key to filing taxes is to break even at the end of the year, or come tax time. If you are getting a refund then the government is keeping money you should have gotten and is making nice fat interest off your money, yes, your money owed you is making them money. It's better you get your money thru the year and invest it and use it how you see fit, why let the government decide how to use your money. You want to only get back maybe 100 bucks on a refund, then you have all your deductions and write offs in the exact place they should be, you don't want to owe them, and you don't want them to owe you. You can file your taxes quarterly ( I do) so you can keep track of where you stand during the year, and adjust deductions accordingly. Everyone has this notion that Oh WOW, look at me, I got 10,000.00 back on my tax return, I'm such a baller, let me go buy myself a new car, and some Happy meals from McDonald's. What it really means is I'm such and idiot I let the government keep my money for a year and they bought themselves new cars and Happy Meals from McDonald's using interest off my money that was due me. So, it sounds like you did pretty good overall, and kept most of your money thru the year.

Yeah, yeah, yeah - I love when people overstate how much they could have done if they have their money instead of IRS having them. Any investing is risky and back account literally brings no interest. 

Setting withholding so you break even at the end for most people (especially in a year when they changed everything up) is tricky.  How much interest would you really make from let's say $1000 (which is not a $1000 over a year - it's a $1000 accumulating over the course of a year) ?

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True, unless you make over 125-150k a year it doesn't matter. I get 2.4% in my basic savings account, not too shabby in the current market, and very conservative investment with like zero risk can get you 8-10%. It's just the principal of it. I wish the population of the us would give me their 1000 dollars for a year, and I'll give it back on April 15. The government makes billions of dollars off our money in interest alone. The new rules did make it tricky this year that's why you file quarters, but I did end up getting almost 300 back this year because I misjudged on my schedule C in the last quarter. But, considering I just got married, I'll be filing my first quarter this year in the next few weeks, and I get to start enjoying the benefits of filing jointly with my wife not working until EAD shows up, and I get to start adjusting for the chunk of money I paid to put her in school she started in January.

True though, like 90 percent of people it really doesn't matter, they are still using the 1040ez to file their taxes, everyone has different priorities and I guess it would feel good to get a fat check once a year. But yeah, I've had bar tabs over 1000 dollars, so it really isn't much.

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Double check your calculations on MFS vs MFJ  or consult with a tax accountant and if MFS is really better for your situation (it rarely is) as your preliminary calculations say it is, then it's simple to file amended returns as MFS and get the additional refund you say you are entitled to.

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7 hours ago, milimelo said:

If you want money in your tax refund, adjust withholdings on w-4 to remove at a higher tax rate as a single filer. Then you’ll get more money come tax return time. Still you’ll file as mfj but because you gave US government money to hold for you (overpaid) you’ll get more on your tax return. 

True, but the “interest free loan” you give to the government may yield even more if someone put money into a savings account over the whole year and earns interest from the bank. 

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