Anyone married to Taiwanese and filing in US?

HI, I wonder if anyone else has gone through this. I’m American, married to a Taiwanese, who of course, does not have a Social Security Number. My problem is what is my filing status? We are not “married filing jointly” and the only other choice is “married filing separately” in which case I need to enter my spouse’s SSN. HELP!

You need to file for a taxpayer ID for your spouse, which can be used in place of an SSN for a non-resident alien spouse. Please see this post for details, and other information you may need to be aware of: … 892#114892

I always left that blank on the advice of my attorney and filed married filing separately. He told me that the IRS cannot force a foreigner to get an ITIN or SSN. They would like your wife to get one but cannot force her, afterall she is not an american citizen and doesnt live in the USA. If your wife lives in the US, it may be a different story.


Thanks for your advice. You live in Lotus Hill? I live in Lotus Hill! We’re in Builing B1. Are we neighbors?

The last thing you want to do, if your spouse is not a US citizen, is get him a taxpayer ID unless you are moving back to the US or need to put his name on bank documents or soemthing. Why should he pay US taxes or even let the IRS know anything about him, if he is not a citizen? You need to mark married filing separately, and you do not need his SSN.

Having a taxpayer ID number does not subject your spouse to any tax liabilities in the US. If you want to claim your spouse as a dependent, you will need a SSN or ITIN for your spouse.

Why chance it?

I faxed the IRS the same question I originally posted, and they sent me this reply:

Your filing staus is married filing separate being your spouse is a
nonresident alien. If you make an election to file a joint return with
your nonresident alien spouse (your spouse must, in turn, elect to be
taxed as U.S. resident), file Form Number 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax
Return (or Form Number 1040A or Form Number 1040EZ if otherwise
applicable), and report both incomes from worldwide sources.

You will need to get an ITIN for your spouse. To apply for an ITIN,
file Form Number W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer
Identification Number.

That is basically the same reply I recieved several years ago. I refuse to let them know too much, there is no need for it. I would think long and hard before you decide to get a tax ID number for him and use it on your tax return. Maybe I am just cynical, but I really don’t trust them. If there is a specific reason that you NEED to do it, then of course you must.

What do I need to think long and hard about? What’s the worst that could happen if I followed the IRS’ instructions and applied for an ITIN for my husband?

Realistically speaking, of course.

I have no idea, as I said I just simply don’t trust them and see no reason for them to know anything more than they absolutely need to. So don’t think long and hard about it, it’s up to you, it’s just my opinion. And I still don’t really understand why you need the ITIN, I think you only need the ITIN if you plan to claim married filing jointly. Otherwise I think you don’t need to. The second paragraph of the letter from the IRS could be related only to if you plan to file jointly.

i filed as “head of household” on advice of preparer.

As do I. If you have a dependent (e.g. a child) other than your spouse and your spouse is considered a US nonresident alien, then you probably can file as head of household. See this post/thread for more detailed information on this: [ … 517#120517](Does Taiwanese spouse need to file US tax return?

Married Filing Separately used to be a lot worse than even filing as Single though most of that has been fixed with the “marriage penalty” legislation passed a couple of years ago. Nevertheless, Head of Household is still better than either of those, and has less pitfalls than treating your spouse as US resident and filing jointly.