Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > USA
Reload this Page >

Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

Old Jan 31st 2020, 4:01 am
  #1  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Nov 2018
Location: Las Vegas, USA
Posts: 29
vivid291 is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

Hello all,

Strange question that I'm unsure about and hoping someone here might have advice on.

I moved to the US to live with my US citizen spouse on 30th December 2019 (on a CR!) and finally got my SSN about a week ago. He's gearing up to do his taxes and is planning on filing for the both of us jointly. He seems to have done some kind of estimate as to how much tax he'll get back being as we're filing jointly for the first time but I just wanted to know if, as we're filing jointly and I moved here literally right at the end of the year, whether I have to declare earnings that I made in the UK from January to December of last year. The last thing I want is to end up unknowingly screwing over the government and getting back more than we should because I've not declared my UK earnings. It just seems too good to be true that we'd get more money back considering for filing jointly considering that I moved right at the end of the year.

Many thanks as usual for all the helpful advice in advance!
vivid291 is offline  
Old Jan 31st 2020, 6:44 am
  #2  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Nov 2018
Location: Las Vegas, USA
Posts: 29
vivid291 is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

My apologies to those reading this thread, I’ve re-read my title for it and realized it doesn’t really reflect my question. We’re filing jointly, just want to know if I have to declare anything about my earnings in the UK being as I moved right at the end of the year. Sorry for the poor titling. I tried to find somewhere on here to edit it but wasn’t successful.
vivid291 is offline  
Old Jan 31st 2020, 10:20 am
  #3  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: The Shire
Posts: 1,099
theOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

The words "innocent lamb" and "slaughter" comes to mind. But, there is insufficient information to answer fully.

Generally, in the US filing as married joint equates to definite advantages. When one spouse has been a non-resident alien for 99.5% of the year, the general rule may not be true.

Yes, if filing MFJ, all your income from 01 Jan. to 31 Dec., from anywhere in the world must be included in the 2019 return. Consideration must also be given to any assets (investments, pensions, ownerships, control of all bank accounts, etc.) you had during 2019. Has your spouse made himself fully aware of all requirements for including foreign income and assets? FBAR, 8938, 3250 and 3250a for starters. Your earned income may be offset by FEIE (2555), but the stacking rule wipes out any advantage of being in a lower marginal tax bracket for MFJ. FTCs (1116) may be claimed instead. Has hubby also considered all this? Filing jointly can be accomplished, but beware of the possible pitfalls.
theOAP is offline  
Old Jan 31st 2020, 12:04 pm
  #4  
BE Forum Addict
 
tom169's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2015
Location: NC, USA (ex Yorkshire)
Posts: 3,966
tom169 has a reputation beyond reputetom169 has a reputation beyond reputetom169 has a reputation beyond reputetom169 has a reputation beyond reputetom169 has a reputation beyond reputetom169 has a reputation beyond reputetom169 has a reputation beyond reputetom169 has a reputation beyond reputetom169 has a reputation beyond reputetom169 has a reputation beyond reputetom169 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

Originally Posted by theOAP View Post
The words "innocent lamb" and "slaughter" comes to mind. But, there is insufficient information to answer fully.

Generally, in the US filing as married joint equates to definite advantages. When one spouse has been a non-resident alien for 99.5% of the year, the general rule may not be true.

Yes, if filing MFJ, all your income from 01 Jan. to 31 Dec., from anywhere in the world must be included in the 2019 return. Consideration must also be given to any assets (investments, pensions, ownerships, control of all bank accounts, etc.) you had during 2019. Has your spouse made himself fully aware of all requirements for including foreign income and assets? FBAR, 8938, 3250 and 3250a for starters. Your earned income may be offset by FEIE (2555), but the stacking rule wipes out any advantage of being in a lower marginal tax bracket for MFJ. FTCs (1116) may be claimed instead. Has hubby also considered all this? Filing jointly can be accomplished, but beware of the possible pitfalls.
tom169 is offline  
Old Jan 31st 2020, 12:35 pm
  #5  
Often not so civil...
 
civilservant's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: The Boonies, GA
Posts: 7,376
civilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

Honestly you are better off MFS for this year - theOAP has given a very accurate summation of the issues.

And yes, ALL income is declared on US tax returns, regardless of source or location it was derived from.

Too late now, but I would have waited to enter until 1/1/20 for this very reason.

Last edited by civilservant; Jan 31st 2020 at 1:23 pm. Reason: Delete extraneous 'and'
civilservant is offline  
Old Jan 31st 2020, 1:03 pm
  #6  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: The Shire
Posts: 1,099
theOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

I see the OP lists Las Vegas as their residence. I don't know how it is these days, but in the past the wedding chapels on the Strip and the local divorce lawyers all did a booming trade during the last days of December because of the number of people wanting to change their IRS tax filing status for the year.
theOAP is offline  
Old Jan 31st 2020, 1:12 pm
  #7  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Aug 2013
Location: Athens GA
Posts: 1,891
MidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond reputeMidAtlantic has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

Use a program like Turbotax and do it both ways to see what gives the best answer.
MidAtlantic is offline  
Old Feb 1st 2020, 1:29 am
  #8  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Nov 2018
Location: Las Vegas, USA
Posts: 29
vivid291 is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

Thanks for your advice guys! It's really appreciated!
vivid291 is offline  
Old Feb 1st 2020, 8:10 am
  #9  
BE Enthusiast
 
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 820
Cook_County has a reputation beyond reputeCook_County has a reputation beyond reputeCook_County has a reputation beyond reputeCook_County has a reputation beyond reputeCook_County has a reputation beyond reputeCook_County has a reputation beyond reputeCook_County has a reputation beyond reputeCook_County has a reputation beyond reputeCook_County has a reputation beyond reputeCook_County has a reputation beyond reputeCook_County has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

You can only file jointly if you made two separate elections required under US law. One of these requires signatures in ink, so you cannot file online. Your income pre-arrival presumably includes salary plus employer pension contributions. Read online carefully about every one of the Form numbers the OAP has listed for you. This is not a simple question.
Cook_County is offline  
Old Feb 1st 2020, 5:17 pm
  #10  
Unedicated dropout
 
zzrmark's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2014
Location: Palmetto, Florida
Posts: 2,226
zzrmark has a reputation beyond reputezzrmark has a reputation beyond reputezzrmark has a reputation beyond reputezzrmark has a reputation beyond reputezzrmark has a reputation beyond reputezzrmark has a reputation beyond reputezzrmark has a reputation beyond reputezzrmark has a reputation beyond reputezzrmark has a reputation beyond reputezzrmark has a reputation beyond reputezzrmark has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

We found it helpful using a CPA familiar with international tax situations rather than using an online preparation tool. I was surprised at how inexpensive they are, I think that gas and accountants are the only noticeably cheaper US commodities when compared to the UK!

Thinking about future visa progression it makes life simpler to file jointly as it shows a tie to your spouse.
zzrmark is online now  
Old Feb 3rd 2020, 6:58 pm
  #11  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 37
Jasskatten is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

I did this last year, and it was a bit complicated IMHO. Since I had been a resident in two different countries the free version of TurboTax wouldn't handle it, so I ended up paying for it. If I remember correctly I also "tricked" TurboTax to get the right results by claiming I had been a resident all year, and then entering my income from my home country as foreign income. I also had to send in a statement signed by both me and my wife that I wanted to be treated as residents for the whole year with the tax forms.

The reason that you would want to be treated as a resident for the whole year, is that otherwise you can't use the standard deduction, only itemized deductions. The downside is that you have to declare all worldwide income, but since you can deduct the taxes paid in your homecountry, it is for most people better to be able to use the standard deduction.
Jasskatten is offline  
Old Feb 3rd 2020, 7:11 pm
  #12  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 37
Jasskatten is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

BTW, if you want to get the information directly from the horses mouth, read through Publication-519, U.S. tax guide for aliens. You would be a "Dual status alien", i.e a non-us citizen who has been resident of the US and a different country the same year. Here is a segment I highlighted when I went through this, since it is relevant if you want to take advantage of the standard deduction.

Choosing Resident
Alien Status
If you are a dual-status alien, you can choose to
be treated as a U.S. resident for the entire year
if all of the following apply.
• You were a nonresident alien at the begin-
ning of the year.
• You are a resident alien or U.S. citizen at
the end of the year.
• You are married to a U.S. citizen or resi-
dent alien at the end of the year.
• Your spouse joins you in making the
choice.
This includes situations in which both you and
your spouse were nonresident aliens at the be-
ginning of the tax year and both of you are resi-
dent aliens at the end of the tax year.
Note. If you are single at the end of the
year, you cannot make this choice.
If you make this choice, the following rules
apply.
• You and your spouse are treated as U.S.
residents for the entire year for income tax
purposes.
• You and your spouse are taxed on world-
wide income.
• You and your spouse must file a joint re-
turn for the year of the choice.
• Neither you nor your spouse can make this
choice for any later tax year, even if you
are separated, divorced, or remarried.
• The special instructions and restrictions for
dual-status taxpayers in chapter 6 do not
apply to you.
Jasskatten is offline  
Old Feb 3rd 2020, 8:55 pm
  #13  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: The Shire
Posts: 1,099
theOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond reputetheOAP has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

Originally Posted by Jasskatten View Post
You would be a "Dual status alien".
Perhaps some clarification may help.

The OP was a dual status alien, but if they file MFJ, they no longer can be treated as a dual status alien. It's not allowed for MFJ. Instead, and as you did, they would elect to be treated as a full year resident of the US, as you mention. A declaration must be made, as you did, and is signed by both filers (see reference in cook_county post #9). The filing can not be made online. Because of the declaration and the election which commits the taxpayer to the requirement to always file MFJ in the future (a consequence of the declaration), it must be mailed to the IRS. For the taxpayer, a similar declaration can no longer ever be made again - forever. See the next to last bullet point in your post. There could be consequences to this in the future.

Originally Posted by Jasskatten View Post
The reason that you would want to be treated as a resident for the whole year, is that otherwise you can't use the standard deduction, only itemized deductions.
The reason they are treated as resident in the US for a full year is they wish to file MFJ. There's no other reason. See publication 54, page 6.
https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p54.pdf
Someone filing a dual status return as opposed to an MFJ return may not be allowed to use the standard deduction. In the case of the OP, if they were to file a dual status return, there would be no need of deductions since they were only in the country for 2 days. What may be upsetting for the spouse of the OP is that they too would have to file MFS.

Originally Posted by Jasskatten View Post
If I remember correctly I also "tricked" TurboTax to get the right results by claiming I had been a resident all year.
No tricks involved (unless TT can't handle the election). It's a straightforward election to file MFJ which requires full disclosure of all foreign income and assets for the year. TT may not be able to handle some of the informational forms.

When electing to file as a full year resident, a complete disclosure of all foreign income, foreign assets, and foreign informational reporting requirements for the full year must be met, as I hope you did. If there was minimal foreign income and no foreign assets, the reporting will be easier. For someone who has sufficient foreign income, foreign assets, and foreign investments which require informational reporting, the reporting will be much more involved.

As was noted above, the OP (or spouse) can run the return both ways, MFJ and MFS to see which gives the best result.
theOAP is offline  
Old Feb 3rd 2020, 9:12 pm
  #14  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 37
Jasskatten is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

Originally Posted by theOAP View Post
No tricks involved (unless TT can't handle the election). It's a straightforward election to file MFJ which requires full disclosure of all foreign income and assets for the year. TT may not be able to handle some of the informational forms.
Thank you for clarifying my post! I am far from an expert in this field, but figured my experience would still be relevant, since it was recent and so similar.

Iirc, the problem I ran in to with TurboTax was that as soon as I entered being a resident in two different countries without being a U.S citizen, TurboTax replied "sorry, the software don't handle dual status taxpayers" and that was the end of that. So I said I said I had been a resident the whole year instead, since the attached declaration said I wanted to be treated as a resident for the whole year anyways, and hoped/trusted/assumed that TurboTax would guide me correctly.
Jasskatten is offline  
Old Feb 3rd 2020, 11:45 pm
  #15  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 37
Jasskatten is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Taxes: Moved to US on 30th December, do we file separately or jointly?

Originally Posted by theOAP View Post
Because of the declaration and the election which commits the taxpayer to the requirement to always file MFJ in the future (a consequence of the declaration).
This was the only point you made which I'm not sure you are correct. The P-519 says "You and your spouse must file a joint return for the year of the choice." So even though you can not choose to be a dual status taxpayer in the future, it is only the year of the choice you have to file jointly. The bullet point about not changing the choice says "Neither you nor your spouse can make this choice for any later tax year, even if you are separated, divorced, or remarried." and obviously you can't file jointly if you are divorced or remarried.
Jasskatten is offline  

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.