ExpressTaxRefund.com How to Choose Your Filing Status





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Published on Feb 14, 2014

Your tax rates and the standard deduction amount that you can take are both based primarily upon the tax filing status that you choose. Your filing status depends upon your marital status on the last day of the tax year, as well as whether or not you have a qualifying dependent (for Head of Household status).

Married, Filing Jointly or Married, Filing Separately

Even if you were unmarried for the majority of the tax year, if you became married on or before December 31, you are considered married for tax purposes. In certain special situations, married persons who live separately from their spouses and have a qualifying dependent may be able to claim Head of Household status.

Married couples may file one tax return together (Married, Filing Jointly), or may each file their own (Married, Filing Separately). If you file jointly, both your income and your spouse's income -- and both of your deductions -- are combined. In most cases, MFJ status will save you more money on your return than filing separately. If you are separated or in the process of a divorce, or need to keep your finances (and tax liabilities) separate for legal reasons, you may want to consider MFS status instead.

Single and Head of Household

If you were legally not married on the last day of the tax year, your status is usually Single. If you are single, but claiming a dependent, you may use Head of Household status, which is usually beneficial. Head of Household status allows a higher standard deduction and lower tax rates than Single status.

Qualifying Widow/Widower

If you are unmarried on the last day of the year due to the death of your spouse earlier in the tax year, you may file Married, Filing Jointly or Married, Filing Separately. If you are unmarried due to the death of your spouse within the two years before this tax year, you may file as a Qualifying Widow or Widower, allowing you to use the same standard deduction and tax rates you would if you were still married and filing jointly.


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