What year US tax information to use when doing US visa affidavit of support during tax season.

What Year Tax Return To Use When Doing Affidavit Of Support During Tax Season

What Year Tax Return To Use When Doing Affidavit Of Support During Tax Season

AOS Tax Year To Use During Tax Season

Many people filing an application for a US family based visa or adjustment of status question often ask this question. “What Year Tax Return To Use When Doing Affidavit Of Support During Tax Season?“.

Confused on AOS Tax Year To Use During Tax Season

In fact, many times, the foreign spouse or fiance takes the lead in the process. Specifically, many obtain, organize and submit paperwork for a US visa or adjustment of status. That being the case, most foreigners are unaware of the US tax process.  In addition, the US visa or adjustment of status process adds more complexity to the issue.

Consequently, many have questions.  For instance, what year tax return to use when doing an affidavit of support at the start of a new year.

With this in mind, we explain the following common questions when doing an affidavit of support at the start of a new year:

  • When is the US tax season?
  • What Year Tax Return To Use When Doing Affidavit Of Support During Tax Season?

When and What is Tax Season?

tax seasonIn the United States, tax season is the time period between January 1st and April 15th of each year when individual taxpayers traditionally prepare financial statements and reports for the previous year. In the United States, individuals must file their annual tax return by April 15th of the year following their reportable earnings.

However, most individuals actually file their taxes between February 1st and April 15th. Due to the fact that most people do not have all their supporting tax documents until after February 1st, most people don’t file until after February 1st. Companies have a requirement to provide W2s to their employees by January 31st. In addition, tax payers usually have to wait for any 1099s, 1098 mortgage interest statements or other income and deduction statements.

w2 due from employer

With regards to filing, many people like to file as soon as they can if they are getting a refund.

On the other hand, other people like to wait until the last minute. For this purpose, they wait until April 15th to file.  Specifically, they wait if they owe the government money. Again, tax filings are due by April 15th.

taxes due dateThere are specifically three ways to prepare your tax return:

  1. Get out your calculator and fill out the paper forms yourself.
  2. Buy tax software that asks you questions to easily fill in information. Additionally, software does the math and fills out the forms for you. In addition, you can file your taxes electronically this way.
  3. Hire a tax professional to do your taxes for you.

Below are two great tax software programs available through Amazon including Turbotax and H&R Block.

 

 

Affidavit Of Support

Affidavit of Support Forms

Petitioners and any joint or co-sponsors have a requirement to submit an Affidavit of Support form.

If you are a U.S. citizen sponsoring a fiance to the United States, your fiance will submit an I-134, Affidavit of Support completed by you with the US Embassy in his or her country at the time of the embassy interview.

In addition, if you are a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident and are sponsoring a family member to immigrate to the United States, you will file one or more of the I-864 Affidavit of Support forms. Specifically, file this with the US Department of State National Visa Center (NVC) or the US Embassy.

See our previous blog post on Which I-864 Form To Use in different situations.

Moreover, if your new spouse is going through an Adjustment of Status, you will file an I-864 Affidavit of Support form. Specifically, file this with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For more information on Adjustment of Status, see our Adjustment of Status Checklist Page.

The purpose of the Affidavit of Support is to show that your immigrating relative will not become a public charge. In other words, you either support him or her, or reimburse any government agency from which your relative claims need-based assistance.

Financial Supporting Documents

Tax Submission Requirements

Along with the Affidavit of Support, Petitioner’s plus joint and co-sponsors submit additional financial supporting documentation.

Firstly, provide the previous year’s tax information. In fact, USCIS and NVC strongly recommends the submission of IRS Tax Return Transcripts. For this purpose, obtain your IRS Tax Return Transcripts at this link. USCIS and NVC like tax return transcripts since they typically provide the concise information necessary for an evaluation of completeness of the Affidavit of Support and result in more efficient processing.  

Alternatively, a copy of an itemized tax return from the most recent tax year is acceptable. However, when using itemized tax returns, you must submit all forms and schedules. In addition they must be signed. For electronic uploads to CEAC, all files must be less than 2 MB. As a result, itemized tax returns can be larger than that.

We highly recommend using IRS tax return transcripts versus itemized tax returns. 

In addition, the last three years of tax information is optional to submit. 

Other tax documents may be required depending on your situation. For example, these include, but are not limited to,  W2s, 1099s, 1099-SSA, and yearly statement of non-taxable income sources. 

If you did not file Federal Income Tax Returns for the most recent tax year, write and sign a statement indicating why you did not file taxes.

Other Financial Documents

In addition to tax submission, proof of current income is a requirement. For this purpose, proof of income includes the following documents:

  • For those who are employed by an individual or company, submit a photocopy of an employment letter, pay stub, or pay advance (direct-deposit receipt) that meets the criteria below:
    • Includes your name and the company’s name;
    • Is on signed, business letterhead (you cannot sign the letter yourself); and
    • Is issued within the last three months.
  • For those who are self-employed, obtain a photocopy of one of the following:
    • Your business license.
    • A signed letter on business letterhead that was written within in the last three months.
    • A contract between you as an independent contractor and a company.
  • For those who are unemployed or retired, submit a photocopy of ongoing income from other means, such as:
    • retirement benefits;
    • other household members’ income; or
    • other significant assets.
  • If you are currently self-employed in any of the following ways, you do not need to obtain submit evidence of income:
    • Babysitter, elderly caretaker, construction worker, handy person, housekeeper, landlord, musician, nanny, seamstress, tailor, artist, or writer.

Minimum Income Requirements

During the U.S. Visa or Adjustment of Status process, there is a minimum income requirement. The Petitioner, joint sponsor or a co-sponsor have specific requirements to proof evidence of financial support.  For this purpose, the US government wants ensures that your foreign fiancé(e), spouse or other relative does not become a “public charge”. In other words, they do not want them to require welfare or other non-approved government assistance once they arrive in the U.S.

For more information, see our blog post on the Minimum Income Requirement.

What Year Tax Return To Use When Doing Affidavit Of Support During Tax Season

Finally, let’s get back to the point of this post. Before this, we gave you background information on US tax season, Affidavit of Support and financial supporting documents.

To return to the subject of the post, we tell you What Year Tax Return To Use When Doing Affidavit Of Support During Tax Season.

Because the previous year’s tax filings are not due until April 15th, submission of tax documents cannot be a requirement on the first day of the following year. In fact, they cannot be a requirement until after the April 15th due date.

However, if you complete your most current year tax filing, you may use it if you want between January 1st and April 15th. 

After April 15th, the previous year tax filing must be used.

In other words, between January 1st and April 15th, use either the last year’s tax filing or the year before that. Then, after April 15th, you must use the last year’s tax filing.

To put it another way, between January 1, 2020 and April 15th, 2020, you can use either your 2018 or 2019 tax filing. After April 15, 2020, you must use your 2019 tax filing.

Given these points, petitioners, joint sponsors and co-sponsors should use this flexibility during tax season to their advantage. For example, if your upcoming tax filing is better than the previous year, file your taxes right away during tax season and use that.  On the other hand, if not, submit with the previous year.

Incidentally, you may have a requirement to update this information as required. For example, you submitted documents when required, but your interview is not for many months. In this case you may need to update your affidavit of support and tax information to meet the current requirement.

Also, keep in mind that W-2 are required to be given to employers on January 31st. I have seen embassies require the most recent W2 between January 31st and April 15th even though they do not require the actual tax return.