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Filing status is more than being married or single

Posted on January 23, 2023

For some, it’s more complicated than that. Here’s what you should know to make sure you get the benefits you deserve.

Filing status is important because it affects:

  • Whether you are required to file a federal tax return
  • The type of return form you need to use
  • If you should file a return to receive a refund
  • Your standard deduction amount
  • Whether you can claim certain credits
  • The amount of tax you should pay

Here are actually 5 filing statuses:

  • Single. Normally this status is for taxpayers who are unmarried, divorced or legally separated under a divorce or separate maintenance decree.
  • Married filing jointly. If a taxpayer is married, they can file a joint tax return with their spouse. When a spouse passes away, the widowed spouse can usually file a joint return for that year.
  • Married filing separately. Married couples can choose to file separate tax returns. When doing so, it may result in less tax owed than filing a joint tax return (have your CPA determine which way is better for you.)
  • Head of household. Unmarried taxpayers may be able to file using this status, but special rules apply. For example, the taxpayer 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 may apply to a taxpayer if their spouse died during one of the previous two years and they have a dependent child. Other conditions also apply.

So what’s your filing status?
If you are confused about your filing status, locate the What Is My Filing Status? tool Interactive Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov. This tool can also help taxpayers who are eligible for more than one status find the one that will result in the lowest amount of tax.

You can also ask a CPA at Teipen CPA Group. We’re happy to help you ascertain which status is ideal for you and your household, and present situation.