Your filing status determines your tax requirements, standard deductions, eligibility for some credits, and your accurate tax. If you qualify for more than one filing status, the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant can help you determine which status gives you the lowest tax.
Here is a quick breakdown of filing statuses:
Single (Not Head of Household): You may utilize this tax filing status if you are unmarried, legally separated/divorced, or widowed before the start of the tax year and have not remarried.
Married Filing Jointly: Select this option if you are married and plan to file a single return for you and your spouse. This will reflect income and deductions for both parties.
Married Filing Separately: Select this option if you are married and plan to file an annual tax return separate from that of your spouse. This will keep income and deductions between spouses separate.
Head of Household: To file as Head of Household, you must be considered unmarried for the tax year, have a qualifying child or dependent living in your home for more than half the year, and be responsible for paying more than half of all household expenses.
Qualifying Widower: This filing status is applicable to those with a deceased spouse and allows you to utilize tax rates as if you were filing jointly. To qualify, you must:
- Have had a deceased spouse who died in the prior two years, and remain unmarried through the end of the current tax year.
- Have a child, step-child or adopted child who qualifies as your dependent. For exceptions to this, you can learn more on the IRS website.
- Be responsible for paying more than half of all household expenses for the tax year.