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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How to Fix It: Taxpayer Married to Nonresident Alien Denied Married Filing Jointly Filing Status

 By JC Leahy,  MA, Accounting

Here's the situation:  You're married to a nonresident alien and filed a Federal tax return as married filing jointly.  Your spouse doesn't have a social security number, so you filed a paper return.  This worked for you in past years, but for 2012, the IRS denied your married-joint status because of the missing social security number. They increased your taxes and sent you a bill.  How do you fix this?

Here are the steps:

  1. Prepare a 1040-X Amended tax return which contains the explanation that your spouse elects to be treated as a resident alien for purposes of US income taxes, and that a signed statement to that effect is attached, and that a Form W7 Application for Taxpayer Identification Number is attached.
  2. Have your spouse sign a completed Form W7
  3. To the W7, attach a copy of whatever identification documents you choose to submit.  See Form W7 instructions for required identification documents.  Your document or documents must prove your identity and also your foreign status.  Copies of documents must be certified by the issuing agency.  Notarized copies are no longer accepted. Submitting a copy of your passport certified by your country's embassy or consulate is ideal.  You can also submit original documents, but that is not wise. 
  4. Have your spouse sign and date a separate statement to the effect that he/she hereby elects to be treated as a US resident alien for tax purposes.
  5. Attach the W7, a copy of your original tax return, a copy of the IRS notice you received in the mail,  and your completed Form W7 with identification documents -- to your Form 1040X Amended Income Tax Return.
  6. Be sure you BOTH sign the 1040X and, for good measure, both of you re-sign your original tax return. Also your spouse needs to sign the Form W7 and separate statement.
  7. Mail this whole collection of documents to the following special address:

ITIN Operations
PO Box 149342
Austin, TX  78714-9342

That should do it.  Any questions, or comments, let me know.

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