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How Do I File for Extension When Spouse is a Non-Resident Alien?

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Level 3

Hi,

A taxpayer got married in 2019 to a non-resident alien. Taxpayer wants to use MFJ status. She is in the process of applying for ITIN for the spouse. The challenge now is, due to COVID-19, getting supporting documents from the non-resident alien spouse for the ITIN application has delayed and July 15 filing deadline is getting close.

Taxpayer wants to file for extension, while waiting for the ITIN application documents. How should the taxpayer file for the extension?

a. File for the extension using the taxpayer information alone. In this case, non-resident alien spouse name will not appear on the form 4868

b. File for the extension with the non-resident alien spouse name included on form 4868 , but no SSN nor ITIN.

Thank you for your input.

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Highlighted
Level 3

Hi Bob,

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my inquiry. To answer your question yes, the taxpayer received the $1200 stimulus check based on 2018 returns.

What I glean from your response is that there is another filing option (file separate extension for each spouse). However, it makes sense to file a joint extension to avoid questions down the line. The downside to this option is that the taxpayer may lose the $1200 come 2020 and any subsequent stimulus checks given that MFJ filers with one spouse having ITIN does not qualify. I would say that taxpayer will still be better off filing MFJ even if she loses the $1200. 

BTW, is my understanding of your post accurate?

View solution in original post

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2 Replies 2
Highlighted
Level 11

c.   File separate extension requests for each spouse.  Filing a joint 4868 isn't a commitment to filing a joint return, but it doesn't offer any more protection and might avoid questions later.  Follow the Form 4868 instructions, " If you don’t have an ITIN, enter “ITIN TO BE REQUESTED” wherever an SSN is requested."

Did the US taxpayer already receive a $1,200 EIP based on 2018 filing status and income?  Filing a joint return with a spouse using an ITIN could eliminate it on a 2020 return.  This might also be a problem with future EIP "second round" legislation.  CIS may like to see joint returns for purposes of green card and citizenship applications, but lack of that evidence this year can easily be explained (by you, if needed).  

0 Cheers
Highlighted
Level 3

Hi Bob,

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my inquiry. To answer your question yes, the taxpayer received the $1200 stimulus check based on 2018 returns.

What I glean from your response is that there is another filing option (file separate extension for each spouse). However, it makes sense to file a joint extension to avoid questions down the line. The downside to this option is that the taxpayer may lose the $1200 come 2020 and any subsequent stimulus checks given that MFJ filers with one spouse having ITIN does not qualify. I would say that taxpayer will still be better off filing MFJ even if she loses the $1200. 

BTW, is my understanding of your post accurate?

View solution in original post

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