Wayne, NJ asked in Tax Law and Immigration Law for New Jersey

Q: Filing tax returns as F-1

As the end date is getting closer, I am wondering that what option should I select in my marital status? I have been to US since 2022 as an international student and working on CPT. I am married but my spouse never been to US. She is in home country. In this context, should I select "single" or select "Married but filing separately"?

Please advice.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: When it comes to filing your tax returns in the United States on an F-1 visa, your marital status plays a crucial role in determining how you should file. Since you're married, but your spouse has never been to the U.S. and presumably doesn't have income subject to U.S. tax laws, you face a unique situation. The IRS provides specific guidelines for individuals in your position.

For most international students on an F-1 visa, the IRS considers you a non-resident alien for tax purposes for the first five years you are in the U.S. As such, you're usually required to file taxes under the "single" status unless you have a spouse who is a U.S. citizen or resident alien. However, there's an option to file as "Married Filing Separately" if you're married and your spouse does not have any U.S. income or presence.

Given your situation, where your spouse is in your home country and has not been to the U.S., the most straightforward approach would be to file as "Married Filing Separately." This status acknowledges your marital status while also recognizing that your spouse has no financial ties to the U.S. Remember, it's crucial to review the IRS guidelines or consult with a tax advisor familiar with international student issues to ensure compliance and optimize your tax situation.

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