Election by nonresident alien spouse to file joint tax return with U.S. citizen

By | November 20, 2015

In general, a person who is a nonresident alien at the end of the tax year and who is married to a U.S. citizen or resident may elect to be treated as a U.S. resident for income tax purposes, if both spouses so elect. To qualify for the election, you, as a U.S. citizen or resident spouse need to be a U.S. citizen or resident only at the close of the tax year.


What happens with a non-resident spouse on a tax return?

As a result of the election:

  • you and your nonresident alien spouse agree to be subject to tax on your worldwide income;
  • you may claim a personal exemption for your spouse;.
  • you may claim deductions for items that were paid by your spouse which would not otherwise be deductible by you if you filed a separate income tax return;
  • your income would be subject to tax at the rates for married taxpayers who file joint returns;
  • any exempt income of your nonresident alien spouse from a public international organization remains tax exempt;


Non-resident spouse on a tax return

In effect, if you make the election, you may be subject to income tax at a lower tax rate than if you had not made the election and you filed a separate income tax return. The election is made by attaching a statement to your joint income tax return for the first tax year for which the election will apply. The statement must contain a declaration that you are making the election and the names, addresses and taxpayer identifying numbers of both you and your spouse. In addition, both you and your spouse must sign the election statement. Whether the election will be advantageous to you depends on your