Married Filing Jointly or Separately as an American Abroad?

January 5, 2024 | , | 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 lot of Americans end up living abroad for one big reason: love. It could be falling for someone from another corner of the world and deciding to pack up, or maybe hitting it off online, flying over, and saying “I do.” While falling in love might happen out of the blue, sticking together and making a life of it? Well, that’s a choice you make.

But when tax season hits, and you’re a US expat married to a Non-US Citizen Spouse. The common question is: what do you need to do?

Married Filing Separately as an American Abroad in 2024

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 $120,000 (salaried or self-employed). Plus, you can exclude all of it via the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion benefit.
  • You have less than $13,850 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 5, 2024 | , | 2 minute read

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