Your filing status is one of the most basic pieces of information when it comes to taxes. It determines the amount of taxes you pay, the credits you can claim, and your standard deduction amount, among other things.
Generally speaking, your filing status depends on whether you are single or married on December 31. That fact determines your status for the whole year.
In some situations, more than one status may apply (you can see all the statuses below). In those cases, you can choose the status that allows you to pay the least amount of tax.
The Five Filing Statuses
- Single: this is the most basic filing status and normally the correct option if you are unmarried, divorced, or legally separated under a divorce or separate maintenance decree governed by state law.
- Married filing jointly: if you are married, you can file together with your spouse. When a spouse passes away, the other person can normally file a joint return for that year.
- Married filing separately: married couples may opt for filing separately. This option may result in a lower tax bill compared to filing jointly.
- Head of household: if you are unmarried you may also qualify for this status, although special rules apply. One of the most basic is that you must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for themselves and a qualifying person living in the home for half the year.
- Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child: this status applies to taxpayers whose spouse died during one of the previous two years and they have a dependent child. There are other conditions that may apply as well.
If you find it difficult to determine your filing status, don’t worry. You can use the online assistant What Is My Filing Status? The website will present you a series of simple questions and at the end, you’ll discover what is your correct filing status. The whole process takes just about five minutes to complete!
If you have any other questions regarding your filing status or if you need help filing your tax return, then contact our tax experts today. They’ll be happy to offer you assistance every step of the way!
Contact the Experts at Meadville Tax Service
At Meadville Tax Service we have made it our mission to help you file your taxes efficiently, limiting your tax liability while staying compliant with federal tax regulations.