Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Level Basic Advanced Military International

Unique Filing Status and Exemption Situations

Exemption for Nonresident Alien Spouse

Joint Return

If a taxpayer, who is a U.S. citizen or resident alien, is married to a nonresident alien, the taxpayer can choose to treat the nonresident alien spouse as a U.S. resident for tax purposes and file Married Filing Jointly.

If the choice is made to treat the nonresident alien spouse as a resident alien for tax purposes, the taxpayer and spouse are treated as residents for the entire tax year. For the tax year in which they make the choice, the married couple:

  • Cannot claim tax treaty benefits as a resident of a foreign country
  • Must report worldwide income earned for the tax year
  • Must file a joint tax return, but can file joint or separate returns in later years
More Information

This includes situations in which one spouse is a nonresident alien at the beginning of the tax year, but a resident alien at the end of the year.

Form 1040 Filing Status section, with box 2, Married filing jointly, checked.