Answer by Wray Rives:
You can file married filing jointly if you choose to treat your wife as a US resident alien for the entire tax year even though she has not resided in the US. That means she will be taxed on foreign sourced income in the US. So if she has no foreign income, then MFJ is usually the best filing option for you. If your spouse has foreign source income, then you really need to calculate your total tax liability both as MFJ and MFS to determine which gives you the lower total US and foreign tax liability. If you choose to treat her as a non-resident alien, then you will have to file MFS.
Your spouse will need an ITIN to file a joint return with you.
Attach a statement, signed by both spouses, to your joint return for the first tax year for which the choice applies. It should contain the following information.
- A declaration that one spouse was a nonresident alien and the other spouse a U.S. citizen or resident alien on the last day of your tax year, and that you choose to be treated as U.S. residents for the entire tax year.
- The name, address, and identification number of each spouse. (If one spouse died, include the name and address of the person making the choice for the deceased spouse.