Your tax filing status will determine your tax liability and if you are to receive a tax refund.  It will tell you what tax forms you are to file when completing your tax return this year.  Your filing status will determine your tax bracket, number of deductions, credits and exemptions you can claim that can affect amount of taxes you will owe.

Listed below is a summary of the five tax filing statuses to help you identify the right option to use when filing your taxes.

Find Your Tax Filing Status

Your tax filing status is determined by your situation on December 31st of the year for which you are filing.

  • Single

Unless you are legally married the IRS will consider you single.  This status includes those individuals divorced or legally separated as well as domestic partners.

  • Married Filing Jointly

When married filing jointly, you are married and have agreed with your spouse to file your tax returns together.  This status requires you both to combine your incomes and deduct combined expenses.  If you are divorced by December 31st, you will be required to file as unmarried for the entire year.  Note that the IRS will hold you both responsible for the taxes and any interest or penalties due.

  • Married Filing Separately

Even if you are married, you have the option to file separately from your spouse.  You may chose this option if you both prefer to keep all of your tax and finances separately from each other.

  • Head of Household

If you are filing as Head of Household, you must be unmarried with at least one qualifying dependent and pay more than half the cost of maintain a home for that dependent.  Dependents include children, grandchildren, stepchildren, nieces and nephews under 19 who live with you for over half the year.  You can also claim parents and adult children as dependents.

  • Qualifying Widow or Widower

To file as a Qualifying Widow or Widower you recently lost your spouse and have a child at home that you are supporting.  You can file Married Filing Jointly in the year your spouse died.  Then, for the next two years you can use Qualifying Widow status if you are unmarried and have a dependent child.

Contact our offices for any additional questions you may have or to have us file your income tax return.