I am a US Cit, my husband is not and we live out of the US – Money & Services

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I have always filed single and it has been so easy, but I got married in Nov/07 and my husband is not a US Cit. From all that I have read, whether we file jointly or separately he still needs to request an ITIN number. Is this correct?

Of course filing jointly is MUCH more beneficial. We would pay less tax and have a better chance of getting a better return. However, none of his income is taxable because none is from US sources and he does not receive a W-2 or anything similar at the end of the year but from what I understand we could still file jointly. There is even a box on the 1040 that says “filling jointly even if only one had income”. Would this box apply to us?

If I choose to not treat my husband as a resident, he still needs an ITIN number right? So if we have to apply for one anyway, wouldn’t it be better to choose the file jointly option instead of separately as you said the time we met?

Also, for 6 months out of the year I paid much more than half of the expenses in our home, so doesn’t that mean I can claim the exemption for my spouse under #6 in the 1040? Would I get more money back that way? If we went that route, would we file jointly or separately?

Also, I do not qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion because I am an employee of the US gov.

Sorry, I am just confused, maybe you can help me.

Answer

No, you CAN file Married Filing Separately without him getting an ITIN. You would have to mail the return and insert the words “non-Resident Alien” where his SSN should go.

Filing jointly requires an ITIN, but makes ALL world-wide income you BOTH make subject to U.S. income taxes. There are offsets available to mitigate the cost of claiming his income.

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