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Stimulus payments/NRA

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Level 3

They filed MFJ in 2018. If the stimulus payments are based on the most recently filed returns, and they have not yet filed for 2019, would filing MFS for 2019 get them a stimulus payment for the TP and his kids? The S doesn't have a social security number and they live overseas.

Since you can't switch from MFJ to MFS, this is an important question before they file for 2019.

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6 Replies 6
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Level 11

The crystal ball lately has these little spikes all over it  . . .

Only the COBOL programmers know if IRS will make another pass through the data once a 2019 return is processed.  It would be safer to use the separate-return strategy on a 2020 return.  And does the citizen spouse qualify for HH status?  

By next year, Mitch McConnell might sponsor a change to the law that turned marriage to someone foreign-born a cause for second-class citizenship, at least if his wife Elaine Chao has any influence.  

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Level 3

OK, I was once a COBOL programmer, so I get it; I agree that filing MFS is the best strategy. TP does not qualify for HH. Agree that taxpayers shouldn't be penalized just because they are married to a foreigner.

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Level 11

Just curious -- he has kids; the NRA spouse doesn't seem to have enough income to support a household; why doesn't he qualify for HH?  (It's allowed in many cases for NRA marriages.)

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Level 3

I was not aware that HH is allowed for NRA marriages. Do you have a source or link to where I can read more about that? 

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Level 11

IRS Pub 501 would be a good place to start.  Pub 519 would be even better, but it says the same thing for resident aliens and then refers to Pub 501.

Nonresident alien spouse. You are considered

unmarried for head of household purposes
if your spouse was a nonresident alien at any
time during the year and you don't choose to
treat your nonresident spouse as a resident
alien. However, your spouse isn't a qualifying
person for head of household purposes. You
must have another qualifying person and meet
the other tests to be eligible to file as head of
household.

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Level 3

Yes, I found that in Pub 17, and also Pub 519. But I am wondering if they are referring to NRA living in the US who are choosing to not be a RA. If you live overseas would that make a difference? Filing HH would help mitigate the loss of part of the standard deduction for MFJ, however.

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