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IRS.gov Website
Publication 54
taxmap/pubs/p54-002.htm#en_us_publink100047359

Nonresident Alien Spouse
Treated as a Resident(p6)

rule
If, at the end of your tax year, you are married and one spouse is a U.S. citizen or a resident alien and the other is a nonresident alien, you can choose to treat the nonresident as a U.S. resident. This includes situations in which one of you is a nonresident alien at the beginning of the tax year and a resident alien at the end of the year and the other is a nonresident alien at the end of the year.
If you make this choice, the following two rules apply. This means that neither of you can claim under any tax treaty not to be a U.S. resident for a tax year for which the choice is in effect.
You can file joint or separate returns in years after the year in which you make the choice.
taxmap/pubs/p54-002.htm#en_us_publink100047360

Example 1.(p6)

Pat Smith, a U.S. citizen, is married to Norman, a nonresident alien. Pat and Norman make the choice to treat Norman as a resident alien by attaching a statement to their joint return. Pat and Norman must report their worldwide income for the year they make the choice and for all later years unless the choice is ended or suspended. Although Pat and Norman must file a joint return for the year they make the choice, they can file either joint or separate returns for later years.
taxmap/pubs/p54-002.htm#en_us_publink100047361

Example 2.(p6)

When Bob and Sharon Williams got married, both were nonresident aliens. In June of last year, Bob became a resident alien and remained a resident for the rest of the year. Bob and Sharon both choose to be treated as resident aliens by attaching a statement to their joint return for last year. Bob and Sharon must report their worldwide income for last year and all later years unless the choice is ended or suspended. Bob and Sharon must file a joint return for last year, but they can file either joint or separate returns for later years.
Deposit
If you do not choose to treat your nonresident alien spouse as a U.S. resident, you may be able to use head of household filing status. To use this status, you must pay more than half the cost of maintaining a household for certain dependents or relatives other than your nonresident alien spouse. For more information, see Publication 501.
taxmap/pubs/p54-002.htm#en_us_publink100047363

Social Security
Number (SSN)(p7)

rule
If you choose to treat your nonresident alien spouse as a U.S. resident, your spouse must have either an SSN or an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).
To get an SSN for a nonresident alien spouse, apply at an office of the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) or U.S. consulate. You must complete Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, available at www.socialsecurity.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213. You must also provide original or certified copies of documents to verify that spouse's age, identity, and citizenship.
If the nonresident alien spouse is not eligible to get an SSN, he or she can file Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, with the IRS to apply for an ITIN.
taxmap/pubs/p54-002.htm#en_us_publink100047364

How To Make the Choice(p7)

rule
Attach a statement, signed by both spouses, to your joint return for the first tax year for which the choice applies. It should contain the following:
You generally make this choice when you file your joint return. However, you also can make the choice by filing a joint amended return on Form 1040X. Attach Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ and print "Amended" across the top of the amended return. If you make the choice with an amended return, you and your spouse also must amend any returns that you may have filed after the year for which you made the choice.
You generally must file the amended joint return within 3 years from the date you filed your original U.S. income tax return or 2 years from the date you paid your income tax for that year, whichever is later.
taxmap/pubs/p54-002.htm#en_us_publink100047365

Suspending the Choice(p7)

rule
The choice to be treated as a resident alien does not apply to any later tax year if neither of you is a U.S. citizen or resident alien at any time during the later tax year.
taxmap/pubs/p54-002.htm#en_us_publink100047366

Example.(p7)

Dick Brown was a resident alien on December 31, 2009, and married to Judy, a nonresident alien. They chose to treat Judy as a resident alien and filed a joint 2009 income tax return. On January 10, 2011, Dick became a nonresident alien. Judy had remained a nonresident alien. Because Dick was a resident alien during part of 2011, Dick and Judy can file joint or separate returns for that year. Neither Dick nor Judy was a resident alien at any time during 2012 and their choice is suspended for that year. For 2012, both are treated as nonresident aliens. If Dick becomes a resident alien again in 2013, their choice is no longer suspended and both are treated as resident aliens.
taxmap/pubs/p54-002.htm#en_us_publink100047367

Ending the Choice(p7)

rule
Once made, the choice to be treated as a resident applies to all later years unless suspended (as explained earlier) or ended in one of the ways shown in Table 1-1 on this page.
If the choice is ended for any of the reasons listed in Table 1-1, neither spouse can make a choice in any later tax year.

Table 1–1. Ending the Choice To Treat Nonresident Alien Spouse as a Resident

Revocation  Either spouse can revoke the choice for any tax year.
   •The revocation must be made by the due date for filing the tax return for that tax year.
   •The spouse who revokes the choice must attach a signed statement declaring that the choice is being revoked. The statement revoking the choice must include the following:
   •The name, address, and social security number (or taxpayer identification number) of each spouse.
   •The name and address of any person who is revoking the choice for a deceased spouse.
   •A list of any states, foreign countries, and possessions that have community property laws in which either spouse is domiciled or where real property is located from which either spouse receives income.
   •If the spouse revoking the choice does not have to file a return and does not file a claim for refund, send the statement to the Internal Revenue Service Center where the last joint return was filed.
Death  The death of either spouse ends the choice, beginning with the first tax year following the year in which the spouse died.
   •If the surviving spouse is a U.S. citizen or resident alien and is entitled to the joint tax rates as a surviving spouse, the choice will not end until the close of the last year for which these joint rates may be used.
   •If both spouses die in the same tax year, the choice ends on the first day after the close of the tax year in which the spouses died.
Divorce or
Legal separation
  A divorce or legal separation ends the choice as of the beginning of the tax year in which the legal separation occurs.
Inadequate records  The Internal Revenue Service can end the choice for any tax year that either spouse has failed to keep adequate books, records, and other information necessary to determine the correct income tax liability, or to provide adequate access to those records.