Category Archives: Life Events

Tax Issues When Married to a Foreign Spouse?

Are you married to a foreign spouse? A non-resident of the USA?

A foreign spouse or as the IRS puts it, a nonresident alien, what is that, you may wonder?  In this day and age, with businesses going global and worldwide travel being so easy, it is more and more common to see marriages take place between a U.S. citizen/non-U.S. citizen who is a resident of another country. These marriages trigger significant tax consequences. Continue reading

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Summer Vacation, Who Cares for the Kids?

Summer vacation is here! There is a tax break that working parents should know about. Many working parents must arrange for care of their children under 13 years of age during the school vacation periods. If the child is handicapped, then it is for any age. A popular solution that comes with a tax benefit is a day camp program. The cost of day camp can count as an expense toward the child and dependent care credit. But be careful, expenses for overnight camps do not qualify. Continue reading

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Address Change? Let the IRS Know!

address change, change of addressHave you changed your address lately? You may want to keep these things in mind to make sure you receive your refunds or information from the IRS. This is true for your home or business address.

Here are 11 ways to change your address on file with the IRS.

  1. Write the new address in the correct boxes on your tax return.
  2. Inform your employer of your new address, this will ensure that you get your W-2 forms on time.
  3. Send the IRS your new address in writing when you file your return. Include your full name, old and new addresses, Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number and your signature. If you filed a joint return, make sure you include the both taxpayers information. If since filing, you and your spouse or partner have moved to separate address, both of you should notify the IRS of your new information.
  4. Use a Change of Address Form, Form 8822, to submit a name or address change. You can do this any time.
  5. Should an IRS employee contact you about your account for another reason, they will do so in writing and will provide phone number to call. You may be able to verbally provide a change of address by phone while handling that other business.
  6. Notify the post office of your address change. This will help you if you changed your address after you filed your return. Your mail can be forwarded. This is especially true if you file quarterly estimated payments.
  7. You can find the address of the IRS center where you file your tax return or download Form 8822 and Change of Address information. The form is also available by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
  8. Complete your change of address online. If for some reason you think your check was returned to the IRS, you can access  Where’s My Refund? on the IRS website. You will be required to provide your social security number, filing status, and the amount of your refund. For more information, read Understanding your CP31 Notice.
  9. The IRS does use the Postal Service’s change of address files to update taxpayer addresses, but it is still wise to notify the IRS directly.
  10. If you use the mailing label that comes with your tax package, make sure the correction of the address is readable.
  11. Taxpayers who make estimated payments throughout the year should mail a completed Form 8822, Change of Address, or write the IRS center where you file your return. You may continue to use your old pre-printed payment vouchers until the IRS sends you new ones with your new address. However, do not correct the address on the old voucher.

Address Change or Other Tax Information

Alex Franch, can give you excellent advise on address changes and other important tax topics. Worthtax will prepare the notices needed for the Internal Revenue Service and your state tax information. You can reach Alex at 781.849.7200. In addition to our guaranteed pricing, we are giving $50 American Express gift cards to any new clients who have their taxes completed and filed by WorthTax. Worthtax provides ultra-convenient service and triple check accuracy. We have locations in Quincy, Weymouth and Dedham.

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Married to a Nonresident Spouse?

Nonresident Spouse or as the IRS puts it, a nonresident alien, what is that, you may wonder?  In this day and age, with businesses going global and worldwide travel being so easy, it is more and more common to see marriages occurring between a U.S. citizen/U.S. resident alien and a resident of another country. These marriages trigger significant tax consequences.

U.S. Resident Aliens

non-resident spouse, non-resident spouse, nonresident alien, non-resident alien, marriageIndividuals who have become permanent U.S. residents but are not U.S. citizens are classified as U.S. Resident Aliens. To be classified as a U.S. resident alien, the individual must be a “green card” holder or meet a “substantial presence test” that is based on time spent in the U.S in the current and prior two years. For U.S. income tax purposes, a resident alien is treated the same as a U.S. citizen and is taxed on worldwide income.

However, being married to a nonresident spouse complicates the selection of a filing status for U.S. tax return purposes and requires the couple to make one of two possible elections:

Married Filing Jointly

For a citizen/resident to file a joint return with a nonresident spouse, the taxpayers must include and pay U.S. taxes on the worldwide income of both spouses on their joint U.S. tax return, or

Married Filing Separately

If they choose not to file jointly, then the citizen/resident spouse files a married separate return without the income of the nonresident spouse and pays U.S. taxes on only his or her worldwide income. If the non-resident spouse has U.S. source income, the nonresident spouse may also have to file a U.S. income tax return using the married filing separate status on that return.

Filing Status Implications if You Are Married to a Nonresident Spouse

The choice of filing status has significant tax implications. If filing jointly, the taxpayers enjoy the lower tax rates of the married filing jointly filing status, have a higher standard deduction ($12,600 for 2015, as opposed to $6,300 for married individuals filing separately), and are able to claim the $4,000 personal exemption for both spouses. On the other hand, if the non-resident spouse has significant income, especially non-U.S. source income, it may be a better choice for the U.S. citizen/resident to file married filing separately without the non-resident spouse’s income.

Higher income taxpayers with investment income are subject to a 3.8% surtax on net investment income. This surtax has an income threshold of $250,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly and $125,000 for those filing as married filing separately. However, individuals filing as non-resident aliens are not subject to this surtax. Therefore, when weighing the pros and cons of making the election to treat a non-resident spouse as a U.S. resident, the effect of the 3.8% tax on the couple’s total tax picture must be analyzed.

Another issue to consider is that when one spouse is a non-resident alien, the earned income tax credit can only be claimed on a joint return.

To make the election to file jointly, both parties must make the election by attaching the required statement, signed by both spouses, to the joint return for the first tax year for which the choice applies. Generally this will require obtaining an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) for the non-resident spouse because the non-resident spouse generally will not qualify for a Social Security number.

Are You Married to a Nonresident Spouse?

Determining your best course of action for tax purposes when married to a non-resident alien can be complicated. If you need assistance in making the decision of whether or not to treat your non-resident spouse as a resident and/or obtaining an ITIN for your spouse, please call Alex Franch, BS EA  a call at 781-849-7200. To read more from the IRS on this subject matter, click here.

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