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  • Writer's pictureJames D. Lynch

Here are Facts to Help Taxpayers Understand the Different Filing Statuses

Single: This status is for taxpayers who aren’t married, who are divorced, or who are legally separated (if legal separation is permitted under the state law of the taxpayer).

Married Filing Jointly: If taxpayers are married, they can file a joint tax return. If you're legally married on December 31, you're considered married for that full year. When a spouse passes away, the widowed spouse can still file a joint return for the year the spouse passes away.

Married Filing Separately: A married couple can choose to file two separate tax returns. This may benefit them if it results in less tax owed than if they file a joint tax return (although this is rarely the case). They can also use this status if each wants to be responsible only for their own tax.

Head of Household: In most cases, this status applies to a taxpayer who is not married and who paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for themselves and a dependent who qualifies as either a qualifying child or qualifying dependent.

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.


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