Since tax filing season is upon us (after waiting for the tax filing delay to be over), many people will have questions regarding which filing status to use when completing a tax return. Because of that, the IRS has given use several tips/facts that can help us to choose the proper status:
Tax Filing Status For Married Taxpayers:
- Your marital status on the last day of the year determines your marital status for the entire year.
- A married couple may file a joint return together. The couple’s filing status would be Married Filing Jointly.
- A married couple may elect to file their returns separately. Each person’s filing status would generally be Married Filing Separately.
Filing Status Options For Unmarried Taxpayers:
- “Single” generally applies to anyone who is unmarried, divorced or legally separated according to state law.
- Head of Household generally applies to taxpayers who are unmarried. You must also have paid more than half the cost of maintaining a home for you and a qualifying person to qualify for this filing status.
Filing Status Options For Widow(er)s:
- If your spouse died during the year and you did not remarry during 2010, you may still file a joint return with that spouse for the year of death, provided the joint return election is not revoked by a personal representative for the deceased spouse.
- You may be able to choose Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child as your filing status if your spouse died during 2008 or 2009, you have a dependent child and you meet certain other conditions.
As you can see, there are a few options available for each type of taxpayer. If you find that there is more than one option that applies to your situation, you are free to choose the one that gives you the lowest tax obligation!
If you still require more clarification, you can read more about determining your status in IRS Publication 501 (opens a PDF).
Be sure you are aware of the tax filing delay, as well as the fact that the tax filing deadline has been extended this year. To get the most out of your tax situation in 2011, you should know the IRA Contribution Limits, 401k Contribution Limits, and the Income Tax Rates for 2011!
photo by Arvind Balaraman
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