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US tax returns for J1 & J2 visa holders

US tax returns for J1 & J2 visa holders

Old Mar 24th 2011, 4:15 pm
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Default US tax returns for J1 & J2 visa holders

Hi, first post here - so apologies if this is in the wrong place. I've spent a while searching these forums, but can't find anything specific.

My wife is on a J-1 visa, and is a post-doc. researcher at a University in Delaware. I am on a J-2 visa as her dependant, with no work permit, SSN, ITIN (volunteering & house husband). She is on a 1 year contract, commenced September 1st 2010 expiring August 31st 2011.

We ran into some basic problems before even starting the return; the University's International Office wouldn't even answer basic tax questions, but referred me to a free session at the local library. They couldn't answer my questions either, nor could they offer any advice on who best to ask...

I understand (I think - but correct me if I'm wrong) that we both have to complete form 8843 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8843.pdf) due to the Tax Treaty between the US and UK, and that I don't have to file a Tax Return as I have no income.

We were trying to fill in a return online, but does she file a return as;
'Single' - somehow seems wrong
'Married, filing separately' - can't proceed online as it requires my SSN
'Married, filing together'? - as above.

Can anyone point us in the right direction?

Any help gratefully received!

Rick
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Old Mar 24th 2011, 5:43 pm
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Default Re: US tax returns for J1 & J2 visa holders

Originally Posted by Rick_Chalton View Post
I am on a J-2 visa as her dependant, with no work permit, SSN, ITIN (volunteering & house husband).
You know you're eligible to work and get a SSN if you want, right?


I understand (I think - but correct me if I'm wrong) that we both have to complete form 8843 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8843.pdf) due to the Tax Treaty between the US and UK...
I'm pretty sure that F8843 is the wrong form - unless you have some sort of medical condition! What is it that you're trying to do?


...I don't have to file a Tax Return as I have no income.
Yes.


We were trying to fill in a return online, but does she file a return as;
'Single' - somehow seems wrong
'Married, filing separately' - can't proceed online as it requires my SSN
'Married, filing together'? - as above.
She should file as married. Whether she files separately or jointly will depend on which one works out financially better for you. If you have no ITIN when you file, one will be assigned to you after you've filed.

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Old Mar 24th 2011, 5:55 pm
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Default Re: US tax returns for J1 & J2 visa holders

Thanks for the reply.

Yes - I could apply for an EAD, but at the moment I'm happy not working. If we are here next year I will apply for one

F8843 - I gathered it was for both Exempt Individuals AND Individuals with a Medical Condition; I thought we had to fill in that form after finding this; http://www.learn4good.com/jobs/us_in...funds_back.htm

Every F-1, F-2, J-1, and J-2 visa holder who is a nonresident alien for U.S. income tax purposes, including individuals who earned no income in the U.S. and also including spouses and children of international students and scholars, must file Form 8843, the statement for F, J, and M visa holders who are filing as nonresidents. Individuals who earned no income from a source in the U.S. file Form 8843 either with or without a Social Security Number or a TIN
The issue we have is that to use an online 'tool' it seems to require my SSN or TIN in order to proceed with either of the 'Married' options...
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Old Mar 24th 2011, 9:14 pm
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Default Re: US tax returns for J1 & J2 visa holders

Originally Posted by Rick_Chalton View Post
The issue we have is that to use an online 'tool' it seems to require my SSN or TIN in order to proceed with either of the 'Married' options...
In that case, I hope you won't make me point out the obvious solution...

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Old Mar 24th 2011, 9:17 pm
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Default Re: US tax returns for J1 & J2 visa holders

Originally Posted by Rick_Chalton View Post

The issue we have is that to use an online 'tool' it seems to require my SSN or TIN in order to proceed with either of the 'Married' options...
Have you tried putting dummy 000s in?
The ITIN is only issued when applied for with an income tax return.
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Old Mar 25th 2011, 4:28 am
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Default Re: US tax returns for J1 & J2 visa holders

Hi, we're in the same position -- husband J1, me J2. We're paying full taxes here, in case we stay longer than 2 years. We got some info from our local H&R Block:

- we each file a 8843
- J1 files 1040 NR EZ
- J1 also files a state tax return (CA 540 NR in our case)

*As far as I'm aware*, the J1 files as SINGLE. I know it's odd. The whole J visa tax situation is pretty confusing and very different from many other tax categories.

We haven't actually done our return yet, but aim to finish it this weekend. Will share any more info as we get it -- please let us know how you get on, too.

p.s. we had an appointment with H&R Block for them to handle it all for us (costing about $200) but the lady there gave us a rundown of the situation and then suggested we first try to complete the paperwork ourselves. She knew our college has some form of semi-automated tax software that should technically make it fairly easy. She gave us 30 mins of explanations and Q&A for free, which was very very helpful of her, so props to H&R Block.
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Old Mar 25th 2011, 12:33 pm
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Default Re: US tax returns for J1 & J2 visa holders

Well yesterday was frustrating - Internet wasn't working properly apartment, so couldn't do much research. However, an ex-pat friend worked on some stuff via email and came up with http://internationalcenter.umich.edu...xlawsreqs.html from the University of Michigan, which was a great guide (once I could download the PDFs)

I also phoned the IRS - remarkably helpful people - and after going through a few options, determined that my wife files a 1040NR-EZ form, choosing 'married'. I think in our situation it makes no difference as there are no spousal reductions available to non-resident aliens. Just got to figure out how to work the Tax Treaty documents now...

MoshiMoshi - great info - thanks for posting that. It all seems to confirm the same forms.

The University here doesn't have many Post-docs/visiting Scholars/J1s, so aren't really clued up as to how to deal with them, and couldn't or wouldn't help at all.
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Old Mar 25th 2011, 5:45 pm
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Default Re: US tax returns for J1 & J2 visa holders

Originally Posted by Rick_Chalton View Post

I also phoned the IRS - remarkably helpful people - and after going through a few options, determined that my wife files a 1040NR-EZ form, choosing 'married'. I think in our situation it makes no difference as there are no spousal reductions available to non-resident aliens.
Oh, ok -- so maybe what people have meant when saying my husband files as 'single' is that we won't get any of the spousal reductions etc; the equivalent of filing 'single' even if you do give your status as 'married'. My husband disagrees, but we'll argue this out in the privacy of our own home...

I've just looked at the 1040NR EZ again and it's practically the first question, isn't it -- married non-resident or single non-resident. Why would they ask if everyone had to check 'single', regardless of status? (Of course, assuming the tax forms work on a logical basis is probably dangerous.)

Originally Posted by Rick_Chalton View Post
The University here doesn't have many Post-docs/visiting Scholars/J1s, so aren't really clued up as to how to deal with them, and couldn't or wouldn't help at all.
Our uni has loads of post-docs etc and so technically knows a lot about the tax area, but since there are so many of us needing assistance I don't think they can offer any personalized help. So you can't win!
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Old Mar 25th 2011, 6:16 pm
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Default Re: US tax returns for J1 & J2 visa holders

What section of the US-UK tax treaty applies to us J-1s who are researchers? There's that section at the end of the 1040NR-EZ that has me stumped: "Tax treaty article". How did you fill yours in?

Last edited by buzwad; Mar 25th 2011 at 7:08 pm.
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Old Mar 27th 2011, 12:24 am
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Default Re: US tax returns for J1 & J2 visa holders

//can't proceed online as it requires my SSN//

Please note that non-resident aliens can't e-file. It means you might end up filing 1040 instead of 1040NR, so don't try to e-file, just mail in your forms.
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Old Mar 29th 2011, 6:57 am
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Default Re: US tax returns for J1 & J2 visa holders

Heres my 2 cents:

In Short:

Your Wife -->
(1)1040 NR-EZ
(2) 8843
(3) Possibly A Delaware State Income Tax return (200-02) Read the 200-02 instructions and look at the form here:
http://revenue.delaware.gov/services/pit_number.shtml

You --> 8843

You both have to file form 8843, Form 8843 is not an income tax return. It is merely an informational statement required by the U.S. government for certain nonresident aliens (including the spouses of nonresident aliens)

Your wife must choose "Married Non Resident Alien" on the 1040 NR-EZ, You are confusing your options with a regular 1040 that US Citizens must file. Even if you were a US Citizen, you still cannot choose 'Single' unless your are legally separated at the end of the tax year.

Things to Note:

-Non Resident Aliens Cannot file joint tax returns
-Non resident aliens cannot E-File, you must post your returns (Photocopy them first)
-A Non resident Alien cannot be claimed as dependent , they fail the citizenship test , so your wife cannot claim an exemption for you

Hope this helps. I'm on an F-1 visa, graduate student in US Tax
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Old Mar 29th 2011, 12:41 pm
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Default Re: US tax returns for J1 & J2 visa holders

Originally Posted by ekirwa2 View Post
Your wife must choose "Married Non Resident Alien" on the 1040 NR-EZ, You are confusing your options with a regular 1040 that US Citizens must file. Even if you were a US Citizen, you still cannot choose 'Single' unless your are legally separated at the end of the tax year.
Thanks for this clarification. Also, everything else you've written confirms what my husband and I have been told by various people, so thanks for putting it all together so clearly.

My husband is going to our institution's seminar on J1/2 tax tomorrow morning, so if he learns anything useful I'll post it here.
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Old Apr 4th 2011, 1:05 pm
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Default Re: US tax returns for J1 & J2 visa holders

Originally Posted by buzwad View Post
What section of the US-UK tax treaty applies to us J-1s who are researchers? There's that section at the end of the 1040NR-EZ that has me stumped: "Tax treaty article". How did you fill yours in?
In IRS publication 901 (Table 2), it states that researchers are exempt under article 20A

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p901...link1000219595
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