Regarding the Form W9 that my Argentine Bank is requiring:

My wife (Argentine) is the main person on the checking account. I am just a secondary person on this account. She receives monthly investment deposits that add up to quite a lot. None of that income is actually mine. However, the Argentine bank is requiring ME to fill out a W9 form.

My question is: will I be required to report these incomes on my US taxes? I am diligently filing my yearly taxes in the US even though I LIVE in Argentina. I do have some rental income in the US which I always report. But I have not been claiming my Argentine residency on my US tax forms. Should I start to claim I am a legal, permanent resident in Argentina just in case I have to start reporting my wifes income? I ask this because, from what I understand, a US person living abroad is allowed to make up to $99,000 per year without paying taxes. What do you think?

1 Answer 1


You're not "allowed to make up to $99,000 per year without paying taxes". What you're thinking about is the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion - you can exclude up to $99K (for the full year) of earned income. Earned income includes income which is compensation for your personal services, it doesn't include passive income (like interest or rents) or capital gains.

So "monthly investment deposits" are not excluded and are taxable for you.

In addition, any account your name is on or you can access must be reported on FBAR and potentially form 8938.

As to reporting income specifically, you need to check whether Argentina has community property law or not. If it does, then your wife's income may be considered half yours by the IRS.

In any case, talk to a tax adviser about what should be reported and how. Don't just assume you can exclude everything, and don't assume that if there's a definition of "primary" and "secondary" joint account holders, the title is not joint.

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