I am on L1 Visa and of Indian nationality. My wife is on L2 Visa. I have recently moved to US and residing in California US from mid August August 2011. (Total of 140 days in year 2011)
We can touch base on this when you are available. My contact number is 408-368-3159.

My tax situation below:
I do not qualify for the Substantial Presence Test hence I have to file 1040 NR form.

I have read that I cannot file joint returns as a nonresident so I cannot save on the deductions applicable for my wife.

According to the IRS site, I can file as a resident under First Year Choice(I qualify for the two conditions as I have not left US since mid August 2011)

I have calculated that I will pay less taxes if I am a resident as I can file jointly and get deductions for my spouse. [comparing data from these pdf's http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040nr.pdf, http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040tt.pdf]
Hence I am planning to file an extension so that when I complete the 6 months (around mid February) I will file a joint return as a resident.

1. Does the above approach makes sense? Can I file a resident joint return even if my wife is not working?
2. Financial calculation details below for status: resident & non resident.
3. Can I take a standard deduction of 5700 even if my wife is not working. Assuming I take FirstYearChoice & file as a resident
4. If I file as a non resident then can I take 5700$ deduction and 3700 exemption(taken exemption in calculation 1 at the bottom of the mail) for my wife ?
5. Do I need to file extension 4868 for my wife as well. She is on L2 & not working currently so do I need to pay any tax liability for her.

Calculation 1 for non resident single filing [http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040nr.pdf]
W2 wages:
Salary for 2011(Sept to Dec)= 31,062.14

Deduction: 5800
Exemption: 3700 *2 (for me & my spouse)= 7400
Total deductions: 13200 $

Taxable income:
Earnings - Deductibles = 31,062-13200 = 17862 $

IT payable from the table at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040nr.pdf = 2256 $
Federal IT already paid = 817 $
To be paid= 1439 $

Calculation 2 for resident filing jointly [http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040tt.pdf]
Salary for 2011(Sept to Dec)= 31,062.14

Deduction: 5800 * 2 (for me & my spouse) = 11600
Exemption: 3700 *2 (for me & my spouse) = 7400
Total deductions: 19000 $

Taxable income:
Earnings - Deductibles = 31,062-19,000 = 12062 $

IT payable from the table at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040tt.pdf = 1208 $
Federal IT already paid = 817 $
To be paid= 391 $