Filing Status for U.S. citizens with Foreign Citizen Spouses

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U.S. citizens married to foreigners (commonly referred to as non-resident aliens in tax terminology) generally file their U.S. income tax return using the filing status of “married filing separately”. When filing separately, the individual reports only his/her own personal income, credits and deductions, and only he/she signs the tax return.

Nonresident aliens who are not also US citizens, who are not resident aliens of the USA, who do not have US sourced income, nor live or work in the USA have no US income tax filing requirement of any kind. Note: If a separate return results in an income tax liability, the individual may consider a special election to treat the foreign spouse as a U.S. resident alien (for US income tax purposes only) which may minimize the tax. For details on how this can be done, refer to IRS Publications 519 or 54.