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I have F1 visa and my wife has F2, both non-resident. My university had a program to help students do their taxes. So they helped me (using their software) to fill and print forms, one of which is 1040NR.

Now, I was just about to post the forms, but I noticed that in the Filling Status section for both me and my wife Other single nonresident alien is checked.

I'm not sure whether this is correct. Aren't we technically Other married nonresident alien? When filling the forms the person actually asked something from his superior and she said they have to fill separately. But does this mean that we have to choose Other single nonresident aliens?

Your help is highly appreciated,

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    Use one of the better online tax prep softwares yourself. Almost all of them are free to enter the information. You only have to pay to print out the forms or e-file. Some of them may allow you to file free since you are a student, or due to income level (assuming you're a student with part time income). – Xalorous Mar 31 '17 at 2:19
  • @Xalorous could you please recommend one? – Kennet Celeste Mar 31 '17 at 15:03
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That is definitely incorrect. If you were married as of December 31 of the year, you cannot file as "Single" filing status. The only options available for someone who is married as of Dec 31 are Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately (or in rare cases Head of Household). Nonresident aliens cannot use Married Filing Jointly or Head of Household, so Married Filing Separately is the only choice. When you see "Other married nonresident alien" on 1040NR or "Married nonresident alien" on 1040NR-EZ, that is Married Filing Separately (they don't need to say "filing separately" because that is implied for nonresident aliens).

When this "superior" said that "they have to fill separately", that is correct. Married nonresident aliens can only file separately, and in fact that's the only married option on the form. However the person filling the form misinterpreted that to mean you file as Single, which is wrong. Sometimes you see ordinary people confuse "filing separately" with "single", but I am surprised that a tax preparation person would make this kind of mistake.

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It is possible that the default checked box in your university's tax software is `Other single nonresident alien, perhaps on the weak grounds that many students on F-1 visas are single. Is there a way to change the setting in the tax package and re-print the form?

Also, as a F-2 visa holder, your wife might well have income that is small enough that she does not have to file a tax return at all.

  • I actually asked the same thing from them as well (via email), and this is the reply that I got: If you would like to white out that spot and put other married non-resident alien that is fine as well. Technically, the IRS views the two as the same for tax purposes, but you can check the other box. So you think it's better to change it , right? because "technically" it's a false information, isn't it? – Kennet Celeste Mar 31 '17 at 14:59
  • Also, I forgot to mention that I don't have access to that software :( Moreover, she technically doesn't need form 1040NR but only 8843 form, though I still have to post my 1040NR anyways. – Kennet Celeste Mar 31 '17 at 15:03

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