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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear all,

I was born in the USA (Buffalo, NY) in 1986 from French parents. We left the US in 1989 (I was aged 3) to live in France and I have been living there ever since. I am a US citizen as well as a French citizen.

My French girlfriend and I made a PACS last year and are planning to get married in France on next summer. I have some questions about it that might already have been replied to but I could not find the answers :-( Besides, I just called the US embassy in Paris and they asked me to send an e-mail that might never get any answer (I already experienced it...)

1/ Do I have to declare this wedding in the US ? What is the process ?

2/ What will be the impact on my tax report ? Will I have to declare my wife's income ?

Many thanks in advance for the help !
 

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1/ Do I have to declare this wedding in the US ? What is the process ?
Nope. A wedding celebrated in France (or anywhere else) is recognized in the US (and most other countries) without any further ado or registration. (If you were getting married in the US, there is some additional paperwork necessary to "transcribe" your marriage into you French birth record. But that will happen automatically given that you're getting married in France.)
2/ What will be the impact on my tax report ? Will I have to declare my wife's income ?
Also no. There is the option of filing your US taxes jointly, but it involves declaring all your wife's worldwide income in addition to your own and your wife "electing" to be treated as US resident. Not worth the hassle and potential expense IMO, though if you have extensive US assets or sources of income it might be interesting for you sometime in the future.

For the moment, you will just file as "married, filing separately" - and indicate on the 1040 that your spouse is an NRA (non-resident alien). You report only your own income. You may want to consider what marital regime you'll be under when you marry. Technically speaking, you will be required to include all jointly held bank accounts when/if you file annual FBARs (reports of bank accounts outside the US). But when your bank catches up with you to ask for your US social security number, you'll note that the French banks do NOT report the usual tax-free accounts (Livret A, Developpement Durable, PEA, etc.) to the IRS. You may or may not want to consider doing likewise.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello,

Thanks Bev for your reply earlier. I have an additional question regarding this thread and the tax income report. When you suggest that I file as "married, filing separately" with my spouse identified as NRA, does it mean my wife will have to report a tax income ? In such a case, does it mean we will have to ask for a Social Security Number for her ? Asking because instructions for form 1040 p13 say:

"Instructions form 1040 p13:

Nonresident Alien Spouse
If your spouse is a nonresident alien, he
or she must have either an SSN or an
ITIN if:
You file a joint return,
You file a separate return and
claim an exemption for your spouse, or
Your spouse is filing a separate re-
turn "

My understanding is that she would have to report. Am I wrong ?

Thanks again for the help.

Kind regards.
 

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No, she doesn't have to file a return unless she is a US citizen and subject to US filing on her own. They don't give you personal exemptions anymore, so you can't claim her as an exemption anyhow anymore. And if she has no filing obligation, she isn't filing a separate return in her own name.

So, net-net, you don't include any of her income on your separate return. And she needs no SSN nor ITIN.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Bev,
Thanks for your latest reply. One additional question: when filing the FBAR form, I understand I should declare my account owned jointly with my spouse in France in part III of the form, am I correct or should I consider this "compte joint" as one of my personal accounts ? Because here again, a taxpayer identification number is asked for my wife. In that case, may I tick "Foreign" in "TIN type" ?
Thank you so much again for your help.
Best regards
 

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The joint account should be reported in the section for Joint accounts - part III, I think it is.

It's up to you what to report as "taxpayer identification number." Unless your wife has an IRS issued TIN or US SSN, you can always fill in simply "NRA" (for non-resident alien). According to the line item instructions for part III:

25. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) of principle joint owner, if known.
Item 25. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) of Principle Joint Owner. Enter the TIN of the
principle joint owner on the account; this can be either an SSN (individual) or EIN (entity) or
foreign. Numbers should be entered as a single number string without formatting or special
characters such as parentheses, spaces, or hyphens.
25a. TIN type. Select the appropriate entry to indicate the type on number entered in item 25.
If your wife doesn't have an ITIN from the IRS, just leave the space blank. Starting last year, I think it was, ITINs have to be renewed every 3 years or so. And only if you actually need an ITIN for your NRA spouse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Bev.

I think I will just leave item 25 blank as you suggest since my wife does not have an ITIN. That is why I was also asking if she would need one in my question raised on last february 18th, since from the wedding, she is now considered a non resident alien.

I must admit all this is not entirely clear on my side. I do not understand in what case(s) a NRA would ever need to file a tax report or a FBAR... Do you ?
 

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A NRA married to a US citizen always has the option to file jointly with their US citizen/taxpayer spouse. This option was originally intended, I guess, for the year the spouse arrives in or leaves the US - but some couples living overseas take advantage of the option to take benefit of certain tax benefits of filing jointly.

The only place where I see it might be worthwhile is if the NRA spouse has no (or only very little) income - because then there are a few benefits to filing a joint return. But if the NRA spouse has their own income it really probably raises more issues than it helps.
 

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Getting legally married in France is only possible through a civil ceremony which takes place at the council offices. The couple can then follow this with a religious ceremony, a secular service, or whatever celebration they choose, in a destination of their choice, both are called marriage. Civil ceremonies take place at the marine or town hall. They’re officiated by the local mayor and conducted in French in a room that’s open to the public. All couples have to have a civil service to become legally married at a marine before they host religious or other symbolic weddings at another venue.
 
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