US Tax Return Tips for New Families on Fiance and Spouse Visas
US Tax Return Tips for New Immigrant Families
About US Tax Return Tips for New Immigrant Families
It is now US tax return time. Accordingly, it is time to file your US tax forms for the tax year 2017.
The concept of a US tax return for new immigrant families is daunting. Therefore, our goal today is to give US tax return tips for new immigrant families.
For this purpose, we give general US tax return concepts and some tips to help you complete your US tax return. This article concentrates mostly on those families that have K-1 Fiance Visas or IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visas.
Who is a Taxable Resident
US residents have a requirement to pay taxes on both their US and worldwide income. A taxable resident is a US citizen or legal permanent resident (green card holder).
Therefore, if you have a green card, you are a taxable resident even if you live in the US part-time. Hence, you are responsible for reporting and paying tax on you US and worldwide income.
Green card holders are taxable residents no matter how long they have been in the US during the tax year. For example, you can claim your IR-1 CR-1 Spouse no matter how long that they have been in the US during the tax year.
In addition, resident aliens that meet the substantial presence test, are also taxable residents. The substantial presence test is a criterion by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It determines whether an individual who is not a citizen or lawful permanent resident in the recent past qualifies as a taxable resident.
Therefore, you can file a joint return or claim as a dependent (based on income) for your green card holding resident spouse. You can also claim your IR-2 or CR-2 step children as a dependent depending on their age or income level.
Typically, K-1 fiance visa holders are not taxable residents until they get married, file for adjustment of status and are approved. In addition, they can be a taxable resident when they pass the substantial presence test. Moreover, you cannot claim a fiance as a dependent on your taxes. You must wait until you are married to do claim as a dependent or file a joint return.
These rules are complicated and subject to a number of confusing exceptions. If you are unsure of your situation, consult a tax accountant or lawyer. Also see IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, available at www.irs.gov.
Why Do We File Tax Returns
The reason that US taxable residents file tax forms every year is to settle up with the IRS at the end of the year. For example, if you have a job with a company, the company probably takes taxes out of your paycheck every pay period. To undertand this, see our previous blog post, “Pay Stub- Guide For New U.S. Immigrant Workers“. Now, at the end of the year, you settle up with the IRS.
For this purpose, you report all of your income and take qualifying deductions. Income is typically found on a W-2 or 1099. If you work for yourself, then you might not get a W-2 or 1099.
Then, you determine your tax amount based on your taxable income and tax rate tables. Finally, compare the amount of taxes that you paid in already versus your tax amount.
Some people can get a tax refund if they paid too much. However, other people owe money if they paid too little in during the year.
Moreover, the US tax return for tax year 2017 is due by April 17, 2018.
Which IRS Tax Form to File
IRS Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ are the tax form options for submitting your annual tax returns.
You can always use form 1040 in any situation. However, forms 1040A and 1040EZ are shorter forms for people with less qualifying deductions.
See the post by Tax Act, “How to Know Which IRS Tax Form to File — Form 1040, 1040EZ, or 1040A?” to determine which form to use.
In addition, if you file online with a tax return program like TurboTax or use a tax filing company like H&R Block, they help determine which form to use for you.
How to File you Tax Return
Firstly, gather all of your documents that you help you do your taxes including, but not limited to:
- Income documents like W-2s, 1099s, or others.
- Deductions like dependent social security numbers, state or local taxes paid, homeowner mortgage interest, college tuition, and more.
Very few people file their taxes using paper forms anymore. However, it still can be done.
Many people go to a tax agent. For example, these include a local accountant, attorney, agencies like H&R block, and more.
Also, many people file their own taxes now online with the help of tax software. For example, these include TurboTax, H&R Block, Tax Act, eFile, Taxslayer, or more. The software can be bought in a store, or online. For instance, Amazon has great prices on tax software. Tax software is very helpful as they walk you though your tax return with easy to answer questions.
Many tax software companies or agencies allow you to file 1040EZ tax forms for free. However, most charge for 1040, 1040A or state returns. For example, this one from efile is free for those filing 1040EZ.
Also, See these US tax return software options from Amazon.