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Oakmen

Change wifes tax status?

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So I just moved to the US on dec 30th last year and am currently waiting for my work permit and green card. As I understand it my spouse should be paying a significantly lower percentage in federal income tax since we got married in February. But how do we go about to make that happen? is it best to just let things be as they are and then file together for the whole year and get a large tax refund? or can we somehow change this now during the current tax year so she gets to keep more of every paycheck instead? 

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The form to adjust paycheck tax withholding is a W-4. That can be changed at any time. Otherwise it will come back as a refund when you do taxes at the end of the year.


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

12/1/17: sent

12/14/17: 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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22 minutes ago, geowrian said:

The form to adjust paycheck tax withholding is a W-4. That can be changed at any time. Otherwise it will come back as a refund when you do taxes at the end of the year.

Thank you!  Does the change count from the date we got married or from the date when I am a resident alien? I don't pass the green card test but I have been here for more than 180days in 2019 now. 

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2 minutes ago, Oakmen said:

Thank you!  Does the change count from the date we got married or from the date when I am a resident alien? I don't pass the green card test but I have been here for more than 180days in 2019 now. 

The change will take place starting from when she submits the new W-4 with her employer (or more precisely, the next pay period after they process it).

 

The resident alien aspect only plays a role when filing federal income taxes. That will apply for the entire tax year if filing jointly.


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

12/1/17: sent

12/14/17: 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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1 minute ago, geowrian said:

The change will take place starting from when she submits the new W-4 with her employer (or more precisely, the next pay period after they process it).

 

The resident alien aspect only plays a role when filing federal income taxes. That will apply for the entire tax year if filing jointly.

Hmm ok but I guess what I am asking could she have submitted the W4 the day after we got married? or is it based off of when I count as a resident alien? in that case she could've only changed it in late June. 

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, Oakmen said:

Hmm ok but I guess what I am asking could she have submitted the W4 the day after we got married? or is it based off of when I count as a resident alien? in that case she could've only changed it in late June. 

You can change your W-4 at any time. There's no verification of your status, immigration, or otherwise (married/non married, with/without child, etc.)

Edited by Lemonslice

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8 minutes ago, Oakmen said:

Hmm ok but I guess what I am asking could she have submitted the W4 the day after we got married? or is it based off of when I count as a resident alien? in that case she could've only changed it in late June. 

The W-4 can be submitted at any time. It takes effect moving forward only (you can't change witholdings from the past, although you will get the right amount back at the end of the year still).


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

12/1/17: sent

12/14/17: 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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8 hours ago, geowrian said:

The W-4 can be submitted at any time. It takes effect moving forward only (you can't change witholdings from the past, although you will get the right amount back at the end of the year still).

So how do we make sure we get back the right amount on the tax return? and does it count the whole tax year or from our marriage date or when does the lower tax bracket kick in?

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30 minutes ago, Oakmen said:

So how do we make sure we get back the right amount on the tax return? and does it count the whole tax year or from our marriage date or when does the lower tax bracket kick in?

Here's the short cheat sheet.

 

Marital status for taxes is determined by the person's status on the last day of the year, December 31.  A person married on Dec. 31 is considered married for the entire year.   It doesn't matter if you marry on Jan. 1 or Dec. 31, you are considered married for the entire year and taxed as married for the entire year.  

 

When your wife changes her W-4, it changes the amount of taxes that the employer will withhold going forward.

 

When you file your tax return, you are treated as married so any taxes paid while her W-4 said she was single will be treated as married.  You get the right amount back when you file.  

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Some new residents benefit from filing as a dual status resident the first year of filing US taxes...generally, that status is beneficial if the new immigrant had income income that year before arriving....that's why I always suggest finding a competent tax professional the first year after arrival........


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31 minutes ago, missileman said:

Some new residents benefit from filing as a dual status resident the first year of filing US taxes...generally, that status is beneficial if the new immigrant had income income that year before arriving....that's why I always suggest finding a competent tax professional the first year after arrival........

OP may not need a tax pro if OP has no foreign income in 2019.

 

OP has been in the US since December 30, 2018, and waiting for their EAD

All of 2019 in the US and no EAD makes it a no brainer to file a joint US tax return with the US spouse for 2019.  No dual status unless OP has foreign income.  

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1 minute ago, aaron2020 said:

OP may not need a tax pro if OP has no foreign income in 2019.

 

OP has been in the US since December 30, 2018, and waiting for their EAD

All of 2019 in the US and no EAD makes it a no brainer to file a joint US tax return with the US spouse for 2019.  No dual status unless OP has foreign income.  

Agree 100%.  My point was that tax situations can be complex for new immigrants........a variety of factors to consider.


                    "What I am to be, I am now becoming"-  Benjamin 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
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13 hours ago, Oakmen said:

Hmm ok but I guess what I am asking could she have submitted the W4 the day after we got married? or is it based off of when I count as a resident alien? in that case she could've only changed it in late June. 

Marriage date.

 

Yes she could have.  She can now.

 

Example:

 

If you get married Dec 30, you file married/jointly for that whole tax year.  

 

To file jointly next year your income is added to hers then excluded based on percentage of tax year you were out of country (prorated).  It falls under bonafide residence test, former country, not physical presence.

 

 

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