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ATLLN

AOS for TN visa tax question

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First, thanks to everyone who has answered my other questions in other posts. I have one more for all you brilliant minds!

My husband is here on a TN visa, and we just filed an AOS based on marriage. His current employer does not withhold FICA taxes from his paycheck. I'm a college professor and make considerably more than he does, but now that his TN visa is expiring as we wait the  for the AOS/biometrics/interview/looooooong wait period, he will be unemployed until his employment/765 is issued. I've helped him do his taxes this year (tax year 2018) and now that we are married of course we plan to file MFJ. But I assume turbotax/HR block software I usually use isn't sophisticated enough to understand the nuanced component of his change of status midyear. 

 

So the question(s) are as follows: 1) Will he have to pay FICA for his earned income in 2019 before we filed the AOS? 2) What impact will this have on our joint tax return for Calendar year 2019? 3) Is it accurate that for a joint return the individual income per person is not reported and instead only joint income (that just sounds wrong for SSA purposes but looking at my parents 2018 return I only see aggregate information).

Much appreciated in advance!

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, ATLLN said:

 

So the question(s) are as follows: 1) Will he have to pay FICA for his earned income in 2019 before we filed the AOS? 2) What impact will this have on our joint tax return for Calendar year 2019? 3) Is it accurate that for a joint return the individual income per person is not reported and instead only joint income (that just sounds wrong for SSA purposes but looking at my parents 2018 return I only see aggregate information).

 

I don't even know what a TN visa is, but I understand from your description that it allows employment that is exempt from Social Security and Medicare withholding. My thoughts on your questions--

1) IRS or Social Security collections are not really related to immigration, so paying anything before you can file is not required. That would be akin to asking "Do I have to pay my rent before I can go to the park?" They are separate functions and departments of the government. 

 

3) A joint return lumps all income together on one line. But a tax return isn't really where Social Security contribution is collected except for self employed persons who have a Schedule SE as part of their return. That collection is done by withholding from the paycheck by the employer. So if he is in a job that does not require those contributions then he does not owe them ever as long as he works there. When his visa runs out, he is unemployed and owes no Social Security/Medicare. When he starts work again under his EAD or greencard, that new employer will withhold and make the contributions and all is right with the SSA. The only thing I can see with that is his personal Social Security pot isn't filling up while is is visa employed, but he'll be fine by the time he gets old enough to collect his Social Security retirement.

 

2) 2019 Joint return-- I don't think it has any impact on your first tax return together. You report income earned from his visa job, your job, and his new job.  If he has been filing a 1040NR return as a nonresident, he can file a regular 1040 with you. He doesn't have to split the year as part NR and part resident because he is married to a USC. I think TurboTax can handle it. 

 

Edited by Wuozopo

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19 minutes ago, Wuozopo said:

 

I don't even know what a TN visa is, but I understand from your description that it allows employment that is exempt from Social Security and Medicare withholding. My thoughts on your questions--

1) IRS or Social Security collections are not really related to immigration, so paying anything before you can file is not required. That would be akin to asking "Do I have to pay my rent before I can go to the park?" They are separate functions and departments of the government. 

 

3) A joint return lumps all income together on one line. But a tax return isn't really where Social Security contribution is collected except for self employed persons who have a Schedule SE as part of their return. That collection is done by withholding from the paycheck by the employer. So if he is in a job that does not require those contributions then he does not owe them ever as long as he works there. When his visa runs out, he is unemployed and owes no Social Security/Medicare. When he starts work again under his EAD or greencard, that new employer will withhold and make the contributions and all is right with the SSA. The only thing I can see with that is his personal Social Security pot isn't filling up while is is visa employed, but he'll be fine by the time he gets old enough to collect his Social Security retirement.

 

2) 2019 Joint return-- I don't think it has any impact on your first tax return together. You report income earned from his visa job, your job, and his new job.  If he has been filing a 1040NR return as a nonresident, he can file a regular 1040 with you. He doesn't have to split the year as part NR and part resident because he is married to a USC. I think TurboTax can handle it. 

 

Thanks!

 

TN visas are the NAFTA (Canada and Mexico) visa category. His is from Mexico (1 year validity thanks to our new anti-immigrant administration. It's a Non-immigrant work visa. He's been here working for a hotel the past 3 years while I've been employed by the state as a college professor. 

 

Part of my concern is that a few years ago when I worked for a municipal government agency, they misclassified my work and I has an IRS battle over social security /Medicare contributions a year ago. So I figured in January of next year I'm going to get billed for his missing SSA/Medicare contributions since he does have a SSN despite being a Non-immigrant while employed there. But from your description it appears that won't be an issue! 

 

Thanks again! 

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The answer is likely very simple, however, It may behoove you to obtain the advice of a tax accountant.


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