Your filing status determines the income levels for your Federal tax bracket. It is also important for calculating your standard deduction, personal exemptions, and deduction incomes. The table below summarizes the five possible filing status choices. It is important to understand that your marital status as of the last day of the year determines your filing status.
Married Filing Jointly
If you are married, you are able to file a joint return with your spouse. If your spouse died during the tax year, you are still able to file a joint return for that year. You may also choose to file separately under the status “Married Filing Separately”.
Generally, you qualify for this status if your spouse died during the previous tax year (not the current tax year) and you and your spouse filed a joint tax return in the year immediately prior to their death. You are also required to have at least one dependent child or stepchild for whom you are the primary provider.
If you are divorced, legally separated or unmarried as of the last day of the year you should use this status.
Head of Household
This is the status for unmarried individuals that pay for more than half of the cost to keep up a home. This home needs to be the main home for the income tax filer and at least one qualifying relative. You can also choose this status if you are married, but didn’t live with your spouse at anytime during the last six months of the year. You also need to provide more than half of the cost to keep up your home and have at least one dependent child living with you.
Married Filing Separately
If you are married, you have the choice to file separate returns. The filing status for this option is “Married Filing Separately”.