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Yet another tax question

Yet another tax question

Old Apr 10th 2014, 10:37 am
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Default Yet another tax question

Hi all

I'm sorry with boring you all with this tax stuff. This should hopefully be the last question. My wife is also going to consult with H&R Block in the morning but she wanted me to ask you guys too.

She is in the process of amending her return to show the status "married filing separately" and "NRA" in the SSN box. Does anyone know if this means we have to add myself as an exemption? We both think not but want to make sure first.

Thanks very much

Last edited by GarethB789; Apr 10th 2014 at 11:32 am.
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Old Apr 10th 2014, 12:49 pm
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Default Re: Yet another tax question

Originally Posted by GarethB789 View Post
I'm sorry with boring you all with this tax stuff.
This isn't actually an immigration issue and should be posted in the general USA forum.

Ian
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Old Apr 10th 2014, 1:23 pm
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Default Re: Yet another tax question

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
This isn't actually an immigration issue and should be posted in the general USA forum.

Ian
Sorry, we're just trying to get it all in order in time for CR-1 visa interview. I don't know if you recall but my wife filed as single based on the incorrect advice she was given over the phone by IRS. We just want to have an amended form showing married at the time of the interview. I know the general consensus is that CO's don't care how the taxes are filed and are only concerned with income values but we just want to have everything in order just in case.

I suppose that's why I came here. I'm happy if a mod wants to move it.

Cheers
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Old Apr 10th 2014, 1:58 pm
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Default Re: Yet another tax question

H&R Block may also be clueless about married filing with an NRA, Gareth. I heard last year from a lot of people who were misinformed by their storefront practitioner.

My husband and I filed joint while his visa was still in process. This got me quite a lot of money back. I used an accountant. I would be happy to share how we proceeded if you wish to file this way instead. Note that either way, if you are filing as an NRA and wish to be considered as a resident for tax purposes, there is a simple declaration you will include with your tax form and a special address you will send the completed forms to, and there's an ID requirement we found to be a bit of a hurdle (we wound up sending his Irish passport with the tax forms while he continued to use his UK passport for travel and visa processing... no copies allowed and he didn't have any of the other docs listed as acceptable).

Based on the reports of others, the interviewing officer sees applicants all the time whose US spouses filed as single based on bad information. It's always better to have the amended return to show, but it seems to be the least of their worries.

Last edited by Speedwell; Apr 10th 2014 at 2:02 pm.
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Old Apr 10th 2014, 3:03 pm
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Default Re: Yet another tax question

Originally Posted by Speedwell View Post
H&R Block may also be clueless about married filing with an NRA, Gareth. I heard last year from a lot of people who were misinformed by their storefront practitioner.

My husband and I filed joint while his visa was still in process. This got me quite a lot of money back. I used an accountant. I would be happy to share how we proceeded if you wish to file this way instead. Note that either way, if you are filing as an NRA and wish to be considered as a resident for tax purposes, there is a simple declaration you will include with your tax form and a special address you will send the completed forms to, and there's an ID requirement we found to be a bit of a hurdle (we wound up sending his Irish passport with the tax forms while he continued to use his UK passport for travel and visa processing... no copies allowed and he didn't have any of the other docs listed as acceptable).

Based on the reports of others, the interviewing officer sees applicants all the time whose US spouses filed as single based on bad information. It's always better to have the amended return to show, but it seems to be the least of their worries.
Thanks for the info speedwell. My wife is not too concerned with the money this year. She just wants to do Married Filing Separately and use NRA as my social. Plus there is no way I can send my passport anywhere with my interview 6 weeks away!

We are using the 1040x to amend to married filing separately. Do you know if we also need to put my name as well as NRA (non-resident Alien) in the SSN box? Take a look at the form http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040x.pdf It says "if joint return, spouses first name and initial, last name". As this is a separate return do you think it's correct to just put NRA in the SSN box and leave the name part blank.

Thanks for your time speedwell.
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Old Apr 10th 2014, 6:56 pm
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Default Re: Yet another tax question

You include the name for the spouse in addition to putting 'NRA' for the ssn.
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Old Apr 10th 2014, 7:04 pm
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Default Re: Yet another tax question

Originally Posted by Jscl View Post
You include the name for the spouse in addition to putting 'NRA' for the ssn.
Thanks for the info. Is that the case with the 1040X too? If you look at the form it seems to imoly you should only write the name of the spouse if filing jointly. My wife was going to leave that blank and put my name in the explanation box along with her explanation of why she is amending just in case they need it.

I know on the 1040 there is a box for SSN and name of spouse (line 3) but this section is missing on the 1040X.

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Old Apr 10th 2014, 7:18 pm
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Default Re: Yet another tax question

Are you talking about the top of the page? At the top of the page on both the amended version of the 1040 return (which you will have to attach) and the 1040X form someone filing married separately ONLY puts the main filers name. To add an NRA spouse on a normal 1040 return you put NRA up the top and the spouse's name in the space next to the MFS check box... and now I see what you're saying, there doesn't seem to be an equivalent line on the 1040X.

My thought would be to put the NRA in the spouse SSN box, and in Part III at the back explain why you are changing the return, and include the name of the NRA spouse.

All amended returns get extra scrutiny, and a human (not a machine scanner) will read Part III. If the amended 1040 you attach has everything done correctly then that is more important than how you phrase Part III, so just try to make it as clear as you can on what you're doing.
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Old Apr 10th 2014, 7:51 pm
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Default Re: Yet another tax question

Originally Posted by Jscl View Post
Are you talking about the top of the page? At the top of the page on both the amended version of the 1040 return (which you will have to attach) and the 1040X form someone filing married separately ONLY puts the main filers name. To add an NRA spouse on a normal 1040 return you put NRA up the top and the spouse's name in the space next to the MFS check box... and now I see what you're saying, there doesn't seem to be an equivalent line on the 1040X.

My thought would be to put the NRA in the spouse SSN box, and in Part III at the back explain why you are changing the return, and include the name of the NRA spouse.

All amended returns get extra scrutiny, and a human (not a machine scanner) will read Part III. If the amended 1040 you attach has everything done correctly then that is more important than how you phrase Part III, so just try to make it as clear as you can on what you're doing.
Thanks very much, that is very helpful. I think we will proceed this way.

This is all because my wife was told by someone on the phone at IRS back in January that she had to file as single as I don't have a SNN. It wasn't until I saw someone talking about MFS and NRA on another forum that I spotted it was wrong. I was initially worried about how this would look at an immigrant interview but apparently the consular officers do not care if they were filed incorrectly and are only interested in the income amounts. Needless to say though, my wife wants it corrected for her tax record purposes.

When I arrive in the US next month and get I receive a SNN number do you know if we would need to amend again? Or can that wait until 2014 returns as I never had a SNN at any point during 2013?

Thanks again!
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Old Apr 10th 2014, 8:00 pm
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Default Re: Yet another tax question

Yes, sadly you can't always trust what they say on the IRS helplines, the best thing to say when you start talking to someone is something like "I need to talk to someone who can advise me on international returns" or something that makes them realise you need to speak to someone who has experience in that area. Too often though they just say they can deal with it when they can't.

The 2013 return is based on 2013 information, so no you wouldn't amend again. Next year (2014 return due in April 2015) you would have to file differently as you'll be in the US. Most likely a joint return would work out best for you both if you haven't had any (or much) income while outside of the US, but in your first year you (the newly resident spouse) do have an option to file separately dual status.
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Old Apr 10th 2014, 8:05 pm
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Default Re: Yet another tax question

Originally Posted by Jscl View Post
Yes, sadly you can't always trust what they say on the IRS helplines, the best thing to say when you start talking to someone is something like "I need to talk to someone who can advise me on international returns" or something that makes them realise you need to speak to someone who has experience in that area. Too often though they just say they can deal with it when they can't.

The 2013 return is based on 2013 information, so no you wouldn't amend again. Next year (2014 return due in April 2015) you would have to file differently as you'll be in the US. Most likely a joint return would work out best for you both if you haven't had any (or much) income while outside of the US, but in your first year you (the newly resident spouse) do have an option to file separately dual status.
Yes, we are learning this the hard way! The same goes for NVC. Each time we called we got different answers so if we had a query we would call 4 times and wait for some consistency in the answer!

Thanks again. You've been a great help!
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