Filing Statuses

Your federal tax filing status is based on your marital and family situation. It is an important factor in determining whether you must file a return, your standard deduction, and your correct amount of tax. Your filing status is also used to help determine your eligibility for certain deductions and credits.

Your marital status on the last day of the year determines your status for the entire year. If more than one filing status applies to you, you may choose the one that gives you the lowest tax obligation.

There are Five Filing Status Options:

  • Single
    Generally, if you are unmarried, divorced, or legally separated according to your state law, your filing status is Single.
  • Married Filing Jointly¬†
    If you are married, you and your spouse may file a joint return. If your spouse died during the year and you did not remarry, you may still file a joint return with that spouse for the year of death.
  • Married Filing Separately
    Married taxpayers may elect to file separate returns.
  • Head of Household
    You generally must be unmarried and you must have paid more than half the cost of maintaining a home for you and a qualifying person.
  • Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child
    If your spouse died during the tax year, you have a qualifying child, and meet certain other conditions; you may be able to choose this filing status.

Filing Status for Same-Sex Married Couples 

If you have a same-sex spouse whom you legally married in a state (or foreign country) that recognizes same-sex marriage, you and your spouse generally must use the married filing jointly or the married filing separately filing status on your return, even if you and your spouse now live in a state (or foreign country) that does not recognize same-sex marriage.