Marriage Legal Rights for Wives and Husbands

There is a lot of good information on this page about the process of getting married here, but I don’t see much information on what that legal status means.

After marriage, are finances legally combine? How does marriage affect taxes? What about purchasing property after marriage? Children? Anyone experience any curve balls?

Thanks for your thoughts.

From my experience as foreigner married to Taiwanese:

  1. you MUST file taxes together in Taiwan. You cannot file separately (like I could in my home country)
  2. finances do NOT have to be legally combined. You can have your account and she/he can have her/his. In fact, I don’t think I’ve heard of “combined accounts” in Taiwan like in my own country. Other responders may state otherwise.
  3. of course you can purchase property after marriage. The couple decides who the owner is.
  4. children take the Chinese last name of the father. In my case, my wife had me change my “chinese” last name on my ARC to her last name just for a few months, so the children could have her same last name in Chinese on their ROC passport. Fine with me, because I don’t want them to have a Chinese name on their ROC passport that is my “Chinese” name on my ARC, which is sort of like a phonetic version of my own English name.

As for legal rights for those above if there is a divorce, others will know more about them.

[quote=“KHHville, post:2, topic:160541”]my “Chinese” name on my ARC, which is sort of like a phonetic version of my own English name.

You are not limited by any means when choosing your Chinese name after getting married in Taiwan.
My Chinese name has a similar meaning to my birth name and sounds completely different. My daughter now uses my Chinese last name and also has a different ‘English’ name that we have chosen with my ‘English’ last name. It is actually a German name but in Taiwan it is referred to as my ‘English’ name.

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I chose my Chinese last name to be near phonetic with my English last name. So, yes, I know you can choose whatever Chinese name you want as a foreigner on your ARC.

The children’s names in English on their ROC passport, which is phonetic spelling of their Chinese characters, have zero relation to their English name foreign passport, which has my own English last name as their last name.

Almost. There is a limit to the number of times you can change your name, except when you have a special situation like having the same name as another person, so choose carefully. :slight_smile:

I think one of the most important things to mention is that if you want to get a divorce, you must obtain the consent of your spouse. If your spouse doesn’t agree, no divorce. The only exceptions to this are if you can prove abuse or adultery. When one person wants a divorce and the other doesn’t, this feature of the law is often used for blackmail, i.e., “unless you agree to…, I won’t agree to a divorce.” Something to think about before you tie the knot.

@KHHville, I am curious about that “MUST file taxes together in Taiwan.” What do you mean? File at the same time? My wife and I have separate tax forms, no one has said anything to us. At least, the accountant has not said anything to us, nor the tax bureau. Maybe it automatically is and I am just not seeing it. But, our incomes are not combined in the “file jointly” sense.

I filed at Taipei’s main tax office counters on Chung Hwa Road near Ximenting for nearly 2 decades. When I got married, I told them and they said I had to file jointly. I specifically asked the people at the counter there to file separately one year, but they said I could not do this, that I had to file jointly.
The people there are very helpful. They always tried to ask if I had any tax deductions, whether I rented property, or supported other people, etc; thus, showing that they were going the extra way to help me save money on taxes.
As to how it is happening to you, I do not know. Just ask your tax accountant this simple question, because the tax bureau people would never allow me to do it, and they have helped me prepare taxes a long time. I’ve found the tax people in Taiwan (in person) to be 1 million times more helpful than any other country’s tax bureau. Try to file taxes in person in most western countries and get to ask about specific tax issues. Doesn’t happen, because filing is all online or through the mail.

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I’ll have to check this out. We have been doing the way I described for the past 5 years. I hope we have not been doing anything wrong. Her family has an accountant to do the taxes for the family, and mine. What is more interesting is that since my wife is a US green card holder, she has to file a US tax return. The family accountant has told her she does not. I am beginning to doubt the reliability of this accountant.

One thing I have learned about the way things move in TW, is a lot of it is “don’t ask, don’t tell.” and what answer/decision you get depends on the person you are talking to. What I mean is…I was asking questions about getting my APRC and I was told that I had to bring 3 years of tax returns, and we had to have property together. On a whim, a few weeks later I asked a different person and I was told latest tax return, or bank deposits for a year, and no property necessary. Helpful, but not necessary.

C’est la Taiwan!

A simple google of “US green card holder file tax” comes up with this at the top of the returns from IRS website (I bolded your issue). You should talk to your accountant about this.:

1. What are my responsibilities as a green card holder if I have been absent from the United States for a long period of time?
As a green card holder, you generally are required to file a U.S. income tax return and report worldwide income no matter where you live.
However, if you surrender your green card or the U.S. Citizen & Immigration Service determines that you have abandoned your green card and takes it away from you, you will need to follow the nonresident alien requirements for filing a Form 1040NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return. See Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, for more details.

Your wife also risks losing her green card status for any number of reasons, with the big one being living outside of the U.S. for over 6 months of 1 year. Happened to a friend of mine’s wife. Lost green card at U.S. airport while trying to enter.

From USCIS website (I’ve bolded 2 of your issues):

Abandoning Permanent Resident Status

You may also lose your permanent resident status by intentionally abandoning it. You may be found to have abandoned your status if you:

Move to another country, intending to live there permanently.
Remain outside of the United States for an extended period of time, unless you intended this to be a temporary absence, as shown by:
The reason for your trip;
How long you intended to be absent from the United States;
Any other circumstances of your absence; and
Any events that may have prolonged your absence.
Note: Obtaining a re-entry permit from USCIS before you leave, or a returning resident visa (SB-1) from a U.S. consulate while abroad, may assist you in showing that you intended only a temporary absence.
Fail to file income tax returns while living outside of the United States for any period.
Declare yourself a “nonimmigrant” on your U.S. tax returns.

Thanks for your very thorough response. It is very helpful to me.

This stuff, I know. I have told my wife this. Since she is has a green card, she needs to file.
I am sketchy on the NR status for non-GC holders. If not in the US, then even if married, I believe their income does not count. I COULD BE WRONG, but that is what I picked up. Still have to file as married, though.

Anyway, she was told by the accountant she does not have to file US taxes and she believes that person. I can do nothing about it except get into fights over it. She refuses to translate her return as well. (We have different returns, and our incomes are separate, that is why I was wondering about the “file jointly” in TW) So, what I do is just file “Married, file separately” and if comes back to me, it is going to be fun…Thanks for your work!!

Why don’t you search the IRS web site for what green card holders need to do? I am sure it’s on there.


I am working here in Taiwan and then get married to a Taiwanese this year. My employer is currently deducting tax on my salary monthly. Next year we plan to file our taxes together so I asked our HR about it but they said that I need a Taiwan ID to do it. Right now I’m only holding APRC but based on your post you were holding ARC and able to file taxes together with your wife. Do you have any link about this so I can show to our HR?


does your company help to file your tax instead of you? If not, what you and your spouse should do is just to file your taxes together.

You may show them this page.【宣導】配偶為外籍人士之綜合所得稅申報方式

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Thanks tando for your reply.
I will show this link to our HR.

Yes, currently my company is the one filing my tax.

I might have misunderstood our HR. Maybe they were saying that I need a Taiwan ID or else I still need to pay 18% tax. I will confirm tomorrow.

are they filing? not just withholding?

They do withholding and filing our tax. Initially they wanted us to file by ourselves but due to the system is only in Mandarin they’re helping us since then.

A government employee at Taiwan Tax Bureau in Taipei office, where foreigners file taxes, told me when I asked.
They are the most knowledgeable of foreign tax laws.
Tell your HR office to call TTB at Chung Hwa Road (and Chunghsiao West Road).

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