I'm a dependant, full-time student abroad and haven't filed with the IRS for the past three years. Doing immigration stuff and need tax returns. What now?
May 13, 2009 10:34 AM Subscribe
I am helping my partner migrate to the U.S. after our marriage. We're nearing the point where we do an Affidavit of Support during our embassy interview abroad, which says I need to bring tax returns. I have not filed income taxes for the last three years, because I have been a full-time student in this country. What should I do?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've been living abroad for the past three years, and now my partner and I are moving / moving back to the U.S. Part of the marriage immigration process deals with an Affidavit of Support. Even though my partner makes a substantial amount annually, and we're filing as if my partner can support can survive on that, we know they will probably still need a co-sponsor. To join the one we file, we're going to get a co-sponsor in the form of one of my partner's relatives in the States. The Affidavit of Support we're submitting together, though, needs tax returns from my filing, and I've not filed for the last three years, because I've been a full-time student, making no money at the taxable rate as a single person. (My partner and I only married this year.)
I'm not sure what I should do. I want the visa process to go smoothly, in which case having the tax returns would probably be preferable, but I'm not sure how to even go about filing in my situation. This is a big reason I've not filed, really. The IRS expects me to have a U.S. address, and I don't. For reasons I won't go into, I also haven't had a very stable, close familial place to send information to, either, so that wasn't an option. When I go to the IRS website, there is the option to contact a local office internationally (in London, Frankfurt and Paris) for help, but none of them is where I am abroad.
Some extra caveats:
- My father is a disabled U.S. veteran, and I've been receiving non-taxable VA educational benefits for the last three years. He has mostly helped pay any leftover costs of my tuition and living. When he's not been reliable, my partner has helped me. I've been a dependent, because of my studies. I have a lot of anxiety issues and can't really work and study at the same time, so that's why. :/
- My parents divorced a little over a year ago, and my mother sent me $10,000 from her settlement with my father. (She was concerned that my father might pull the rug out from under me and not help me pay for things while abroad.) Is this generous gift taxable, or is it part of my being essentially a dependent? I don't know how my parents file me (if they call me a dependent), if they file me, because they don't talk to me much.
- My partner and I have begun pooling our money together--my little bit and my partner's regular income--in preparation of our immigration interview (date yet to be set) and our move. I feel this may complicate things, even with my bank statements. Am I right?
So yes...what should I do? Do I file (and how, if so?) and try to get the returns ASAP, before our interview? Do I not file and just take bank statements and a letter explaining my situation? I can point to p. 8 in the 1040 Tax Instructions Book that shows I don't need to pay, I think, since I've not actually earned over $8900USD in any of the three years, but I'm still not sure if this is good enough.
- I will start working as soon as I am through with my studies next month. I have this lined up. The money I make will go into my and my partner's joint account. How might this affect stuff?
I'm just wanting to do what will help us the most, and harm us the least, for the visa process. Any advice would be welcome.