US Citizen working and living in Germany married to German how to file US taxes

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Hello Everyone,

 

I’m way behind on my taxes. I searched up and down this site and couldn’t quite find the answer to my question, so maybe someone can point me in the right direction.

 

I am a US citizen living in Germany. I married a German in 2016 and we now have two children together. I have not filed my taxes since we got married because I can not figure out what to do. I tried filing married, filing separately, but it still asks for a tax ID for my husband or SSN. I tried twice to apply for a tax number but never received anything back. We pay German taxes and make below the threshold to get taxed in the US, but obviously I would like to get up to date and file. Any Americans married to Germans and working in Germany what can tell me what they did?

 

I have emailed a tax expert I found on this site to see why he thinks, but haven’t heard back yet. 
 
Thanks! 

 

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well, a good starting point would be this website:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/taxpayers-living-abroad

 

more specific details about your German spouse can befound here:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/nonresident-alien-spouse
 

with special remarks here: If your spouse is a nonresident alien and you file a joint or separate return, your spouse must have either a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)..... If your spouse is not eligible to get an SSN, he or she can file Form W-7 with the IRS to apply for an ITIN. Refer to Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN) for more information.

 

The ITIN process is explained ingreat detail here:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/taxpayer-identification-numbers-tin

with specific details pertaining to your situation here: To obtain an ITIN, you must complete IRS Form W-7, IRS Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. The Form W-7 requires documentation substantiating foreign/alien status and true identity for each individual. You may either mail the documentation, along with the Form W-7, to the address shown in the Form W-7 Instructions, present it at IRS walk-in offices, or process your application through an Acceptance Agent authorized by the IRS.

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When I applied for the ITIN for my German wife, I included a certified copy of her passport with the completed W-7.  She went to the Rathaus and the clerk made a copy of her passport and put lots of impressive stamps on it.  This satisfied the IRS, because a few weeks later, I received a letter with her ITIN and the copy of the passport.  I had to renew her ITIN last year, but she had to get a new certified copy of her passport because it had been renewed since the initial ITIN request.

 

A few months ago, an acquaintance asked me how to catch up on his U.S. tax returns, since he had been living and working in Germany and had not filed a U.S. return for about 20 years.  I recommended he call any large tax preparation firm in the U.S. and ask for help, because there is a process for this with the IRS.

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On 9/2/2020, 2:33:17, karin_brenig said:

If your spouse is a nonresident alien and you file a joint or separate return, your spouse must have either a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)... If your spouse is not eligible to get an SSN, he or she can file Form W-7 with the IRS to apply for an ITIN. Refer to Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN) for more information.

 

 

This is accurate with respect to filing jointly but not accurate with respect to filing separately or as head of household.

 

There are only 3 instances when a US citizen needs to obtain a US TIN for a nonresident spouse:

 

1. if the NRA spouse intends to join the US citizen on a joint US tax return whereby the NRA spouse agrees to be taxed on his/her worldwide income as if they were a US citizen.

 

2. (No longer relevant for tax years after 31.12.2017 when personal exemptions were abolished)  if the US citizen files with married filing separately or head of household and claims a spousal exemption for the NRA spouse who has no US source gross income.  

 

3. if the US citizen has purchased cheapo software from Turbotax or H&R Block which will not allow him to electronically file MFS or HoH without first obtaining an ITIN for the spouse and filing electronically is so important to him/her that he is willing to go through the rigmarole of getting an ITIN just so he can save paper and postage.

 

@jvonboston

 

If you provide more than 50% of the support needs of your children file as head of household on paper and forget the ITIN:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/us-citizens-and-resident-aliens-abroad-head-of-household

 

If you provide less than 50%, you cannot claim HoH so file "married filing separately" on paper and forget the ITIN

 

Only if your NRA husband wants to join you on a US return and is prepared to be taxed on his worldwide income and endure all the other indignities to which US citizens are subject should you apply for an ITIN.

 

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/nonresident-alien-spouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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