Everybody is filing their taxes during this time and a common question they all have is what to do when your spouse is a foreign national. They’re an immigrant and they don’t have a Social Security Number yet. What are you supposed to do when you’re filing your taxes?
A lot of individuals think that they are supposed to file single or they’re stuck and they’re not sure what to do. Many use tax filing programs like H&R Block, TurboTax and things like that. Those are basic form-filling software that can’t handle more complex and other unique situations like having a spouse who is a foreign national.
For those of you who are married to individuals who live in another country and they haven’t received their green card and a Social Security Number yet and you’re still going through the immigration process but you’re legally married, you should file taxes jointly because you are married.
This advice is from an immigration standpoint and basic information about taxes.
We’ve seen a lot of individuals that say, “I was trying to file on TurboTax or H&R Block and it asks for my spouse’s Social Security Number. He or she doesn’t have one yet. Do I file single or what else are my options here?” From an immigration standpoint, if you’re married you want to show immigration that you have a real relationship. One of the parts of your immigration case is showing immigration that you have a real relationship based on love. That you are joining your lives together.
Filing taxes single would be something that would hurt you because that’s something that you can use for evidence. Filing your taxes jointly like a married couple would can be used as evidence for a real relationship.
As a married couple, there are certain things you can’t claim in taxes. There are certain instances when you can’t file head of household or you shouldn’t legally file single. What we recommend is that you look for a Certified Public Accountant.
Basic form filler programs are only helpful to those individuals who have simple tax forms. You want to find someone who can help you prepare your taxes that understands that you’re married to an individual who lives in another country and doesn’t have a Social Security Number yet.
An ITIN or an Individual Tax Identification Number is typically used for individuals who are not yet lawful permanent residents or United States citizens. Finding someone who can give you expert advice in the realm of taxes and help you to properly prepare your taxes to be filed jointly is going to help you because you want to be in compliance with tax law in the United States.
Also, typically married couples get certain deductions that are beneficial. You also want to take advantage of that.
Commingling of finances, an term used for joining two accounts or funds, can show you have a real relationship. It’s definitely worth it to get that expert advice and have your taxes done properly.