My income through CPT, as a F1 student for 2012 was $50k, of which I have paid $300 in state and federal taxes as I was a part time employee of a company from Jan - March 2012 (income ~$13k).
I then started working as a contractor for them from March 2012 and am liable to pay taxes for that income (~$40k). My wife, a US Citizen, had absolutely no gross income during 2012.
To save myself from paperwork, I will submit my 1040 by Jan 31st 2013 so that I don't have to submit a 1040-ES in the meantime.
My intentions are:
... to file as a non-resident as this gives me two benefits:
- I don't need to pay FICA, at all, on all my income
- I get to use the Tax treaty in effect between India and the US that allows me to claim a single standard deduction
... to file jointly as I expect to be able to claim her standard deduction in my tax as well.
1 and 2 might be contradictory and this "double dipping" might not be something the IRS formally entertains and there might be clauses in the IRS code that specifically excludes such activity.
Perhaps if I were to file jointly with my wife, I would have to elect to be treated as a resident first (hence requiring to pay FICA on all the income so far?)
Hence, my questions are:
Can I file jointly (hence getting two standard deductions) as a non-resident (hence not requiring to pay FICA for 2012)
Would the joint filing rules be "different" for Federal and State (California) tax returns?