Your Life

Your Life

Major life milestones often have a major tax impact. Changes in your marital status, having a baby or adopting a child can have significant impact on your taxes. This is the place to ask questions about dependents, real estate, and other various scenarios that play a significant role in what taxes you pay.

Posts: 1
Registered: ‎06-18-2017
Accepted Solution

Military with foreign spouse



I got married in February of 2017 while I was stationed in Japan. My wife is staying in Japan to finish her degree until April of 2018. At that point she will have a green card and SSN soon after. She is a student not getting a job any time soon. Do I need to change my exemptions on my paycheck? How will this affect everything. Thankful for any advice. 



Trusted Council Member
Posts: 6,191
Registered: ‎02-23-2016

Re: Military with foreign spouse

HI flenteg04,


Welcome to the H&R Block community.


You won't necessarily need to change your Form W-4, but you will have a choice to make in filing status on your tax return.  For the most part the change in filing status is a beneficial one.


You can choose to treat your wife as a resident alien for tax purposes and file jointly with her which will double your standard deduction and give you a second personal exemption.  Or you can choose to file separately using the "married & filing separately" status.  If you file jointly you definitely will not need to change anything on your W-4.  If you file by yourself then you may need to change to zero exemptions if you are not already claiming zero exemptions as you will have a slightly higher tax rate and will likely need more withholding.


Also, if you file jointly with your spouse and she does not have an ITIN number or a social security number yet then you will need to mail your tax return to the IRS because it will not be able to be e-filed.


If you have any other questions I'll be glad to help.



Senior Tax Advisor (Tampa, FL)