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United States Tax Code is Complex
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U.S. Citizens Married to Nonresident Alien
If you are a U.S. citizens married to a nonresident alien you have many choices as to your filing status, reportable income and tax credits. This section will only deal with your filing status.
You may elect to treat your nonresident alien spouse as a resident and then file as married filing jointly. You will then receive a higher standard deduction than if you file married filing separately or Head of Household. However you will then be required to include your spouses world wide income on your joint return. You must also attach a statement explaining your election and your spouse will also need to obtain a taxpayer identification number.
You may also choose to file as married filing separtely in which case your standard deduction is cut in half but you do not need to report your nonresident alien spouse's income and no special election is required.
If the U.S. citizen spouse chooses married filing separtely he or she may still qaulify as head of household which would increase your standard deduction when compared to married filing separtely but less than married filing jointly and you would not need to report your spouse's world wide income. Your nonresident spouse cannot qualify you for head of household however other family members may.
If you paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home that was the principal home for the entire year for our mother or father for whom you can claim a exemption you can claim the head of household filing status. Your parent does not need to have lived with you.
You may also use the head of household filing status if you paid more than half the cost of keeping up the home in which you lived in if one of the following also lived for more than half the year with you; your unmarried child, grandchild, foster child or adopted child. A married child or foster child will only qualify you for this status if you can claim an exemption for the child.
Also most relatives such as parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, stepmoms, stepdads, son and daughter-in-laws will qualify you has head of household if you can claim them on your tax return as dependents and as mentioned above you paid for more than half the cost of keeping up the home.
There are additional complex issues that are not covered in this brief article so I highly recommend you have a certified public account prepare your income taxes. Please use my contact page to engage my services.