Married Filing Jointly or Separately as an American Abroad?

January 14, 2023 | , | 2 minute read
Expat Tax Blog. Tax Tips for US Americans abroad.

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Today we’re going to cover the popular US tax topic: Married Filing Jointly or Separately as an American Abroad.

A popular reason why US citizens are living abroad is “because of love”. Some people fall in love with individuals that are not American and choose to move for them. Others meet someone online, visit them abroad, and eventually marry them. While falling in love may happen by chance, staying in love and living together is a choice.

But when tax season hits, and you’re a US expat married to a Non-US Citizen Spouse – what do you need to do?

Married Filing Separately as an American Abroad in 2023

Infographic stating that it's better to file 'Married-filing-separately' when you're an expat married to a non-american citizen.

Filing together with your spouse does normally come with better tax benefits. However, it can cause extra reporting stress for Americans with non-US partners. Let’s take a look to see if makes sense to file Married Filing Separately instead…

If the following is true in your situation:

  • You earn less than $112,000 (salaried or self-employed). Plus, you can exclude all of it via the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion benefit.
  • You have less than $12,950 investment or U.S. sourced income that cannot be excluded through the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.

If it is all true for you, the next step is to file as Married Filing Separately as an American abroad or Head of Household (depends on if you have any dependents – children). Additionally – due to the expat benefit of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, and the deductions/exemptions, you will most likely owe no taxes and therefore don’t require the extra benefits of Married Filing Jointly.

Just keep in mind, that since you and your non-US partner are married – you are not allowed to file as Single! If you decide not to sign them up with the IRS, then your filing status has to be either Married Filing Separately or Head of Household.

The MyExpatTaxes software is designed specifically for US expats and can determine the correct filing status and benefits to help your spouse file his taxes in as little as 30 minutes (and stress-free!) for an affordable fixed rate.

Written by Michelle H.

January 14, 2023 | , | 2 minute read

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