Non-Citizen Spouses

As a non-citizen spouse of a US citizen, and as a US taxpayer, you are sometimes at a disadvantage. For example, you face higher taxes on inheritances and gifts you receive than US citizens. Unlike a US citizen and non-citizen spouse, married American citizens have no limit on the amount of money they can gift to each other. In 2011, the maximum amount a US citizen to gift to their non-citizen spouse without being taxed was $136,000. Transferred sums between US citizen and non-citizen spouse amounting over $100,000 must go through the IRS—a 3520 form must be filled out in order to avoid monetary fines.

If you are a non-working, non-citizen spouse, then you may want to begin supplementing yearly to your spouse’s IRA, or Individual Retirement Account, in order to secure funds for retirement. You can only transfer money to an IRA if your working spouse earns the same amount you contribute.

As a non-citizen and US resident, you have responsibilities as a US taxpayer. The Department of Treasury requires all US residents and citizens to file taxes and a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). The FBAR is compulsory for any person living in the US who has either US or foreign financial accounts, with a sum total that surpasses $10,000. US taxpayers are obligated to declare all earnings, domestic and foreign. Additionally, if you pay taxes in a foreign country then report tax credits for taxes paid abroad.

It is equally important for non-citizens to have a will and trust. With these documents, you can choose who becomes the guardian for your children and who becomes the beneficiary for your assets. If you do not designate these roles, then a US court will take charge of your estate and settle it.

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