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NRA spouse working abroad, has SSN. Should I file as MFS? Can I claim exemption for my spouse?

I were a non-resident alien and become resident alien this year for tax purpose. My spouse stayed in US for one year and he got a SSN. This year he is working abroad (with foreign income) and receiving no US income. Can I file tax return as "married filing separately"? Would I be able to claim exemption for my spouse?

3 Comments
Catalyst V

NRA spouse working abroad, has SSN. Should I file as MFS? Can I claim exemption for my spouse?

could you please provide more info as to which visas you both had and from when to when you both stayed in the US? Did you ever elect to treat your spouse as resident alien?

Member

NRA spouse working abroad, has SSN. Should I file as MFS? Can I claim exemption for my spouse?

I came to US in 2012 with a F1 visa. I graduated in 2016 and I am on F1 OPT status.

My husband came to US in 2015 with J1 and he stayed here for about 1 year. He then came back to our country. After that, he came to US several times with B1 visa. He is now working in a foreign country.

 

I become a resident alien this year. I did not ever elect to treat him as resident alien. I wonder whether I can file as MFS and claim an exemption for myself and my husband. Should I enter his SSN or indicate his status as NRA without indicating his SSN in 1040? Thanks! 

Catalyst V

NRA spouse working abroad, has SSN. Should I file as MFS? Can I claim exemption for my spouse?

If you meet the substantial presence test for 2017 and were present on January 1st 2017, you are a resident alien. If your husband has no US source income, you can file MFS and claim an exemption for him. Since he does have an SSN, you would enter his SSN.  You could also elect to treat him as resident alien and file a joint return, however, you would have to report his worldwide income as well (but could use the foreign paid tax credit). Since he has an SSN, you can efile your MFS return.