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watgate

Married and impact on US income tax preparation

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I was wondering if any knowledgeable income tax individuals would know of any impact for getting married to a thai national and then having your US income taxes prepared? My wife obvious does not have a social security number and does not have any income to report so what ramifications are there when preparing your US income taxes as a married individual versus doing your income taxes in the past as a single person? Any clarification would be appreciated. Also, I  know there used to be a fellow from the US who prepared US income taxes in the Chiang Mai area but he passed away several years ago. Are their any US tax preparers in the Chiang Mai area that someone could recommend?

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it is easy to get a tax reporting number for your wife---you can find the form with an internet search. For married persons, if your income is less than $24,000 you do not need to file a return at all (a higher number if you are over 65). If you do need to file a return, contact American International Tax Advisers in Bangkok (easily found using Google). However, you may find it cheaper to use Turbotax, depending on your situation.

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You may want to file as single or HOH to keep your wife out of the US tax and reporting systems.

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2 hours ago, Bill97 said:

You may want to file as single or HOH to keep your wife out of the US tax and reporting systems.

I can think of NO disadvantage for OP's wife having a TIN (taxpayer identification number).

 

For the 2019 tax year the standard deductions are: single=12,200, Head of Household =18,350 and married filing jointly=24,400.  If OP is 65+ he gets an additional deduction of 1,650 if filing single.  If filing jointly and either he/wife are 65+ they get additional 1,300 deduction, but if both 65+, they get extra 2,600 deduction.

 

Unless there is some special circumstance, OP should file as married filing jointly to benefit from the higher standard deduction.

 

If your taxes are not complicated I think you can file them for free.  The federal gov't stipulates that the tax software companies offer free filing to lower income filers.  Those companies often try to hide the option to file for free.

 

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 I apologize  for my original  post on the topic below.Not to take away from your topic,more info here!

Question for USA Expats concerning Marriage, Taxes and the SSA

https://forum.thaivisa.com/topic/1072039-question-for-usa-expats-concerning-marriage-taxes-and-the-ssa/#comments

 

Edited by riclag

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13 minutes ago, riclag said:

Not to take away from your topic,more info here!

 

 

As I said in that thread it appears to only concern those that are not American Citizens who have foreign spouse.  Poster is a citizen and wife should be able to make the normal decoration statement to pay US tax and obtain an ITIN when he files 2019 return.

 

Edit on re-read see OP does not directly say he is American Citizen but believe he is or would have stated such if not.

Edited by lopburi3

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Search ITIN on the IRS Site.  A lot of info.  I did it for my wife last year and it is not that difficult.  You send the form in with your tax filing.  It took about 3 months to process, but it is worth it for added deduction.  Whatever you do, do NOT use the agent in Bangkok.  There is one listed on the IRS site.  I contacted them, and not only did they give me incorrect information, but they wanted an exorbitant fee for processing.  There is no charge from the IRS if you do it yourself.  More here.  https://www.irs.gov/individuals/individual-taxpayer-identification-number

Additionally, my wife is the beneficiary on my mutual funds in the U.S. When the time comes, she will need a tax number (now listed on the account) to collect.  Better to get the number now then have her try to figure it out later. 

Edited by silverhawk_usa
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7 hours ago, silverhawk_usa said:

Search ITIN on the IRS Site.  A lot of info.  I did it for my wife last year and it is not that difficult.  You send the form in with your tax filing.  It took about 3 months to process, but it is worth it for added deduction.  Whatever you do, do NOT use the agent in Bangkok.  There is one listed on the IRS site.  I contacted them, and not only did they give me incorrect information, but they wanted an exorbitant fee for processing.  There is no charge from the IRS if you do it yourself.  More here.  https://www.irs.gov/individuals/individual-taxpayer-identification-number

Additionally, my wife is the beneficiary on my mutual funds in the U.S. When the time comes, she will need a tax number (now listed on the account) to collect.  Better to get the number now then have her try to figure it out later. 

Did your wife sign her name to the application in English or Thai and how about the 1040 income tax form did she sign her name in english or thai?

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10 hours ago, riclag said:

Did your wife sign her name to the application in English or Thai and how about the 1040 income tax form did she sign her name in english or thai?

My wife has always signed US forms in English without issues but have not signed a 1040 in a decade or more as file electronically.  

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I am considering not getting a TIN from the IRS because my wife has no income or interest. Also I don't see us living for 5 or more years in the US so she would never be eligible to collect from my social security when I die. She never changed her name so I don't know if that would make a difference if I did decide to apply to the IRS for a TIN for my wife.

 

     My only big concern is that when I pass on she would be the beneficiary of my estate. I don't know if she would need a TIN in order to realize the proceeds of my estate when I pass on.

 

     I really need to find a good tax atty in the Chiang Mai area but there doesn't seem to be one around. I am a little reluctant to use an atty in Bangkok due to the distances involved but I guess I could if the need were to arise.

 

     I try and simplify my life and it seems like I am continually being thrown curve balls and making my life more stressful. 

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11 minutes ago, watgate said:

Also I don't see us living for 5 or more years in the US so she would never be eligible to collect from my social security when I die.

Why are survivor benefits dependent on her living for any period of time in the US? https://www.aarp.org/retirement/social-security/questions-answers/spouse-social-security/

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My understanding is that both spouses have to live in the US for 5 years in order for my wife to be able to collect from my social security when I die.

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10 minutes ago, watgate said:

My understanding is that both spouses have to live in the US for 5 years in order for my wife to be able to collect from my social security when I die.

I'm asking what your understanding is based on

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20 minutes ago, watgate said:

My understanding is that both spouses have to live in the US for 5 years in order for my wife to be able to collect from my social security when I die.

I would contact SS in Manila to confirm that as have seen information posted saying there is no such residency requirement if the country involved has an agreement with USA.  Have no idea is Thailand has such.

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