I am a non-resident, independent contractor, married to a US citizen and have filed my 1040-ES and 540-ES with my own information, leaving our my wife's details (which I gather is only required if I intended to file jointly?)
For 2012, I also intend to file the 1040 and 540 as married filing separately (and possibly so for the next 3 years).
This is because I am a non-resident for tax purposes and do not need to pay FICA if filing married filing separately.
However, if I ever find out, by 2015 (3 years from now) that it would have been beneficial for my family had I filed "married filing jointly", can I amend the tax returns for 2012, 2013 and 2014 and:
- file change in status from "married filing separately" to "married filing jointly"
- pay the FICA contributions that would have are now due otherwise (since I would have needed to contribute to FICA if "married filing jointly" versus not needing to do so, as I elect now, when filing as "married filing separately")
This resource might be useful regarding the 3 year amendment rule, specifically "(b) Joint return after filing separate return" : http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/6013