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Yuck...tax question

Yuck...tax question

Old Dec 27th 2002, 12:57 pm
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Default Yuck...tax question

Morning all,

I have a question in regards to taxes. I will admit that I am really clueless when it comes to anything involving the IRS and I can't make heads nor tails of their website. I have been filing 1040-EZ my entire life...simple, straighforward, no hassle. I like it that way!

Anyhow...now I am married. My husband is an immigrant who has never worked here in the USA. He has no social security number as yet (and I am just about to give up hope that they will ever send one!).

What does this mean for my tax situation? I don't even know where to begin and the "tax guy" in our family has no clue about immigrants and whatnot.

Any help would be appreciated!

Have a great day!

Ang
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Old Dec 27th 2002, 1:26 pm
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Theres some info on tax stuff here, which could help you out, it did for me and my wife as it enables us to file as a joint couple (instead of her as single).

I havent receieved my ead/ssn yet either (same boat as your guy), but I can apply for a tax ID number, which can be used on tax returns.
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Old Dec 27th 2002, 1:40 pm
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Default Re: Yuck...tax question

Ahhh the joys of the FAQ and its links. Go here:

http://www.txdirect.net/users/mike38/irs2.htm

Easy to follow and if he had no foreign income then it is even easier.

Rete


Originally posted by KissingtheBrit
Morning all,

I have a question in regards to taxes. I will admit that I am really clueless when it comes to anything involving the IRS and I can't make heads nor tails of their website. I have been filing 1040-EZ my entire life...simple, straighforward, no hassle. I like it that way!

Anyhow...now I am married. My husband is an immigrant who has never worked here in the USA. He has no social security number as yet (and I am just about to give up hope that they will ever send one!).

What does this mean for my tax situation? I don't even know where to begin and the "tax guy" in our family has no clue about immigrants and whatnot.

Any help would be appreciated!

Have a great day!

Ang
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Old Dec 27th 2002, 1:56 pm
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Default Re: Yuck...tax question

Originally posted by KissingtheBrit
Morning all,

I have a question in regards to taxes. I will admit that I am really clueless when it comes to anything involving the IRS and I can't make heads nor tails of their website. I have been filing 1040-EZ my entire life...simple, straighforward, no hassle. I like it that way!

Anyhow...now I am married. My husband is an immigrant who has never worked here in the USA. He has no social security number as yet (and I am just about to give up hope that they will ever send one!).

What does this mean for my tax situation? I don't even know where to begin and the "tax guy" in our family has no clue about immigrants and whatnot.

Any help would be appreciated!

Have a great day!

Ang
Well, I'm not a tax expert any more than I'm an immigration expert, but I can say a few things. First of all, if you like simplicity over all else, you can file as a single person for 2002 just like you have in the past. Unfortunately, there's a real good chance you'll be allowing the IRS to keep a chunk of money if you do so. Since you are already married, you can alternatively file a joint return. If you look at the tax tables, for the same income level, the total tax burden is significantly less with a joint return. There are two things that make this more difficult though.

The first is the SS number issue. The IRS offers something called an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number for folks not eligible for a SSN. Strictly speaking, your husband is eligible for a SSN, so you can try to obtain and use an ITIN at your own risk. Alternatively, you can wait to file your taxes and perhaps file for an extension if a SSN isn't forthcoming by April 15. Or you can file as a single person and amend your return when the needed social security number becomes available (this only makes sense if you are entitled to a refund even without the joint return perk).

The second issue is that foreign income is, generally speaking, taxable as well. The reason that joint returns have lower tax burdens is because it costs more to support two people than it does to support one, so if one party makes money abroad, then the IRS wants a piece of it. Fortunately, a credit can also be claimed for foreign income tax. Of course, all that could make filing your taxes more complicated than you are prepared to deal with, such that you may want professional assistance.

Hope this wasn't more confusing than helpful...
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Old Dec 27th 2002, 6:35 pm
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Default Re: Yuck...tax question

John McHugh wrote:

    >
    > Well, I'm not a tax expert any more than I'm an immigration expert, but
    > I can say a few things. First of all, if you like simplicity over all
    > else, you can file as a single person for 2002 just like you have in the
    > past.

Wrong... She can not filed as single since she is married.
She could file as married, but filing separately.

    > Unfortunately, there's a real good chance you'll be allowing the
    > IRS to keep a chunk of money if you do so. Since you are already
    > married, you can alternatively file a joint return.

    > If you look at the
    > tax tables, for the same income level, the total tax burden is
    > significantly less with a joint return. There are two things that make
    > this more difficult though.

Plus, he can deduct about $80K of his foreign earned income.

    >
    > The first is the SS number issue. The IRS offers something called an
    > Individual Taxpayer Identification Number for folks not eligible for a
    > SSN. Strictly speaking, your husband is eligible for a SSN, so you can
    > try to obtain and use an ITIN at your own risk.

Actually, that wouldn't be advised. If he is eligible for an SSN, it
would be illegal to file to use ITIN. It isn't good advice to advise
someone to purposely break the law.

Alternatively, you can
    > wait to file your taxes and perhaps file for an extension if a SSN isn't
    > forthcoming by April 15. Or you can file as a single person and amend
    > your return when the needed social security number becomes available
    > (this only makes sense if you are entitled to a refund even without the
    > joint return perk).

Please stop saying "single". She can't file single.
    >
    > The second issue is that foreign income is, generally speaking, taxable
    > as well. The reason that joint returns have lower tax burdens is
    > because it costs more to support two people than it does to support one,
    > so if one party makes money abroad, then the IRS wants a piece of it.
    > Fortunately, a credit can also be claimed for foreign income tax. Of
    > course, all that could make filing your taxes more complicated than you
    > are prepared to deal with, such that you may want professional
    > assistance.

If the SSN is not available at the time of filing, then you can file for
an extension of time to file.
This information is available in the 1040 instructions at
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040gi.pdf
 
Old Dec 27th 2002, 7:37 pm
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Default Re: Yuck...tax question

[QUOTE][SIZE=1]Originally posted by Mrtravel
John McHugh wrote:

    Plus, he can deduct about $80K of his foreign earned income.


Hi MrTravel,

Thanks for the info...I appreciate it. Excuse my stupidity...but do you know, if I just wait for his SSN and then file married filing separate...do I (or does my husband) need to bother with his income earned whilst he was in the UK?

Basically I am wondering if there is a way around needing to claim that income. NOT because I am looking to do anything wrong, but more so because my husband would have a large amount of difficulty coming up with paperwork to support all that information.

Can I just file for myself and be done with it?

Thanks...

Ang
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Old Dec 27th 2002, 7:38 pm
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Default Re: Yuck...tax question

Thanks to all for all the advice. It was very helpful!!

Have a great weekend!

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Old Dec 27th 2002, 8:26 pm
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All I know is Mttravel is correct even if you were married on Dec 31st at 11PM you would still have to file as MARRIED.

Also if you file married filing seperatly you will owe much more. If you look at the tax table married filing jointly is the best, then single is a little higher and married seperatly is lots higher (the amounts you owe) I am not sure why that is?

Good luck and maybe you should consult a tax attoney in this matter to find out the best way.
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Old Dec 28th 2002, 2:57 am
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Default Re: Yuck...tax question

Originally posted by Mrtravel
Wrong... She can not filed as single since she is married.
She could file as married, but filing separately.
Sorry, my mistake. Thanks for the correction. That's what I meant actually, but since I never have filed married but separately, the distinction didn't stick in my mind.

Originally posted by Mrtravel
Actually, that wouldn't be advised. If he is eligible for an SSN, it
would be illegal to file to use ITIN. It isn't good advice to advise
someone to purposely break the law.
Nonsense. If one doesn't have a EAD, one cannot get a SS card. It is a perfectly reasonable interpretation of the instructions to assume that the ITIN is the appropriate approach. The IRS, of course, is the final arbiter on what will or will not work here, but there are absolutely no legal ramifications of trying this. The return will either fly or it won't. The tax burden is unaffected. Furthermore, I didn't advise this...I only alerted the OP of the possibility. Why the confrontational tone?
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Old Dec 28th 2002, 10:07 am
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Default Re: Yuck...tax question

Originally posted by John McHugh
Nonsense. If one doesn't have a EAD, one cannot get a SS card. It is a perfectly reasonable interpretation of the instructions to assume that the ITIN is the appropriate approach. The IRS, of course, is the final arbiter on what will or will not work here, but there are absolutely no legal ramifications of trying this. The return will either fly or it won't. The tax burden is unaffected. Furthermore, I didn't advise this...I only alerted the OP of the possibility. Why the confrontational tone?
There is a scenario that you didn't take into account. If a person enters the US as a K-1 recipient they are entitled a SSN with or without an EAD card. So in that instance, yes they were ineligible for a ITIN because they are eligible for a SSN.

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Old Dec 28th 2002, 10:13 am
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Default Re: Yuck...tax question

Originally posted by KissingtheBrit
do I (or does my husband) need to bother with his income earned whilst he was in the UK?

Basically I am wondering if there is a way around needing to claim that income. NOT because I am looking to do anything wrong, but more so because my husband would have a large amount of difficulty coming up with paperwork to support all that information.

Can I just file for myself and be done with it?

Thanks...

Ang
You can, of course, file separately. The choice is yours on the filing status you wish to choose. However, your husband is going to have to file taxes in the UK so whatever paperwork is needed to file in the UK is the same paperwork needed in the US. Namely, this is the equivalent of the US W-2 form issued before January 30. For Canada it is the T-4. Not sure what the form name/number is in the UK.

As the URL points out that I gave you, the process seems daunting the first year and that is only because of the need to take the physical presence test. After four years of marriage and filing with a foreign income earning spouse, I can tell you first hand that it is a simple process. You put on the foreign income, take off the foreign income at another spot, attach the supporting W-2 equivalent and get the benefit of filing joint instead of separately.

Rete
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Old Dec 28th 2002, 1:40 pm
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Default Re: Yuck...tax question

Originally posted by Rete
There is a scenario that you didn't take into account. If a person enters the US as a K-1 recipient they are entitled a SSN with or without an EAD card. So in that instance, yes they were ineligible for a ITIN because they are eligible for a SSN.

Rete
Yes, OK. And, in fact I made the judgment a year ago that since my wife's AOS was in process that it was too much of a hedge to claim she was eligible for an ITIN. She was in possession of her EAD card by April 15, but then the SS application took much longer such that filing an extension was required. In hindsight, I wondered if it wouldn't have been better to at least try to get an ITIN. That refund would have been nicer in February-March vs. late summer. :-)
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Old Dec 28th 2002, 2:07 pm
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Default Re: Yuck...tax question

Originally posted by KissingtheBrit
Morning all,

I have a question in regards to taxes. I will admit that I am really clueless when it comes to anything involving the IRS and I can't make heads nor tails of their website. I have been filing 1040-EZ my entire life...simple, straighforward, no hassle. I like it that way!

Anyhow...now I am married. My husband is an immigrant who has never worked here in the USA. He has no social security number as yet (and I am just about to give up hope that they will ever send one!).

What does this mean for my tax situation? I don't even know where to begin and the "tax guy" in our family has no clue about immigrants and whatnot.

Any help would be appreciated!

Have a great day!
Once we decided that it was to be my husband moving here from UK rather than me to there, I found out about the tax ID number. The sticky bit was getting him a number because it had to be done through either notarized ID (US NOT UK notarized), or the presentation of a passport etc. With him in the UK that was a bit tricky. I didn't want him sending his passport in the mail for obvious reasons. We happened to find out quite by accident when we visited the Embassy in London, on my last flying visit over to him, that the IRS has an office there in the Embassy AND rather than pay the 30 bucks for notarization through the Embassy itself we got it done for free at the IRS office. My husband presented his passport, we filled out the W7 form and five weeks later he got the tax ID number in the mail in the UK. Nice lady there at the IRS but please note they are closed on Fridays.
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Old Dec 30th 2002, 2:43 pm
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Default Re: Yuck...tax question

Hey, thanks everybody for the input and help. I'm out of my league on this tax stuff, so I'll be paying some smart individual to handle this for me.

In any case, your info has given me stuff to start with...namely, David needs to get some info from the UK about his income there.

Thnaks to all and have a Happy New Year. May we all get our immigration stuff sorted out in 2003!!

Angela
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