As seasoned tax professionals, perhaps some of the most frequent questions we get asked are in regard to filing statuses. In fact, choosing the correct filing status is essential, as it creates the foundation for your federal income tax return—helping to determine your filing requirements, eligibility for credits and deductions and other important information. Below are some of the questions we encounter on a regular basis.
What are the possible
filing statuses available?
There are five filing statuses to choose from. If you fit more than one
status, it is best to choose the status that allows you to pay the least taxes.
The five available statuses are:
Married Filing Jointly
Married Filing Separately
Head of Household
Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child
I got married this past
year. Should I claim Single or Married?
Your tax filing status is determined by your marital status on the last day
of the year. Even if you were married on December 31st, you should
claim Married status. If you were divorced during the year, you have the
ability to choose to file Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separate. Ask
your tax professional which status would allow you to pay the lowest amount in
If I’m divorced,
should I claim Single status?
Single filing status is generally only applicable to individuals who are not
married, divorced or legally separated.
spouse died last year. What status do I use?
In this situation, you can still file a return
using the Married Filing Joint status for the year; however, you will need to
select another status for the following year. Depending upon the circumstances,
options would include Single or Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child.