I was recommended an EA to help me file my taxes and he recommended me to file jointly with my wife's name as the first name on the joint tax return.

I did some reading and it seems like it's best to make it a one time decision that is best not changed form time to time.

When I wanted to probe further, it only seems like this is more like a recommendation :

Changing the order of the names and SSNs could delay the processing of your return and your refund.

Is there anything more to worry about changing the first name on joint tax return than the issue that changing it frequently could "delay the processing of your return and your refund."?

1 Answer 1


In your specific case the EA is right and the order matters. Your spouse is the US citizen, as you previously told us, and you're the non-resident. Thus, you cannot file a joint return. Your wife can.

  • ... but we can change the order easily later when we both are citizens or immigrants?
    – sekharan
    Apr 10, 2013 at 3:47
  • Sure, once you're eligible to be the main taxpayer, you can do whatever you want.
    – littleadv
    Apr 10, 2013 at 4:29

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