This is the situation I find myself in:

  • I'm a student on F-1 visa, and my wife has been staying with me on a F-2 visa since the last year
  • I wanted to file a married tax return, so as to get the tax exemptions for my wife as well. IRS requires a submission of an application of ITIN number for my wife, along with my tax return - which I did through the help of a Certified Acceptance Agent (CAA) who certified that my wife's passport/visa was in order, and sent the tax return along with the ITIN application to IRS. This was done on March 13, more than a month before now. I was assured by the CAA that the ITIN number would be sent by IRS way before the deadline for filing my Iowa State Tax return, which requires the ITIN number to be included upfront in order for me to be eligible for a tax break.

Fast forward to today - I've still not heard back from IRS, and have no clue when I will! The Iowa state taxes are due by April 30th - but if I file it without including my wife's ITIN, I'd have to pay $200 more in taxes. Hence, my question is:

  1. Can I submit a tax return without my wife's ITIN number, but then later file an amendment when the ITIN number comes through, to get back the $200 in extra taxes?
  2. What other options do I have - may I file it later than the deadline? I'm owing taxes to the state of Iowa either way - its the amount that is different.

Could anyone suggest an alternative, so that I don't have to pay for the dilatory administrative practices of IRS?

  • What's the difference? Why does ITIN reduce your tax by $200?
    – littleadv
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 8:10
  • @littleadv - Because I get the benefit of an additional tax exemption for my spouse.
    – TCSGrad
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 18:04

2 Answers 2

  1. Yes. You should file as married filing separately, and amend it later.
  2. Don't file taxes late.

These are the responses I got from the Iowa State Tax Office after emailing them:

Please file by paper and indicate the spouse’s ITIN has been applied for.

On asking if I had to file an amended return once the ITIN is issued by IRS?

You will not need to file an amended return. The department will issue your wife a temporary number on our system. Once you receive your wife’s ITIN send us a copy of the letter and a brief note asking us to update our records as you filed your return not showing an ITIN for your spouse.

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