Can I e-file a return that has a Nonresident Alien Spouse who does not have an SSN/ITIN?
If the non-resident alien spouse does not have a valid SSN or ITIN, the return must be paper-filed. In this situation, on federal screen 1, leave the SSN box blank and enter NRA in the spouse First Name field. Check boxes for Nonresident alien, Spouse is not filing a return, and Spouse has no U.S. income are available to be selected, if applicable.
A return with filing status Head of Household (HOH) for an individual claiming a nonresident alien spouse's exemption would be rejected with R0000-530-02, if e-filed. Beginning in Drake16, EF Message 5572 will prevent e-filing of the HOH return.
If the filing status is Married Filing Separate (MFS), and the nonresident alien spouse does not have a valid SSN/ITIN, the return must be also paper-filed. EF message 0071 generates explaining this situation:
SPOUSE'S ID NUMBER MISSING OR INVALID: When the spouse SSN is present, it must be within the valid range of SSN/ITINs, cannot be an ATIN, and cannot be the same as the primary taxpayer's SSN. It must be all numerals and cannot be all zeros, ones, twos, threes, fours, fives, sixes, sevens or eights.
For MFS and HOH returns, if the "Spouse is not filing a return" check box or the "Spouse has no U.S. income" check box is marked, then a valid SSN or ITIN must be provided. If a valid SSN or ITIN is not available for the spouse, the return must be paper-filed. "NRA" is not a valid social Security Number or ITIN.
See IRS Publication 501 for details on filing status requirements and claiming of exemptions.