Income Tax Fundamentals and Calculations - Filing Status

Filing Status
Your filing status generally depends on your situation at year end. Are you married? Are you unmarried, but maintain a home for a qualifying dependent? Basically, there are five filing status categories:
 

Single (S) A single filer is someone that was unmarried, separated or divorced at the end of the year.

Married Filing Jointly (MFJ) Taxpayers who are married at the end of the year can file married filing jointly. If your spouse died during the year, the survivor may still file MFJ for that year. Starting in 2014, the IRS will also allow same-sex married couples to file jointly as long as they were married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages.

Married Filing Separately (MFS) If you are married, you can file MFJ or married filing separately. The amount of tax due is generally lower with MFJ, but some couples prefer to file separately to use their own income, exemptions, deductions and credits.

Head of Household (HH) Unmarried taxpayers who maintain a household for a qualifying person can file as head of household. To qualify for HH, the taxpayer must pay more than half the cost of maintaining a household for a qualified person (principal home).


Qualified Persons Child, grandchild, parents, grandparents, siblings, step child, adopted child, step-family members, in-laws and blood uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews.
 

Qualified Widow(er) with dependent child A taxpayer can use this filing status for the two tax filing years after the death of their spouse if the taxpayer has a qualified dependent.


Requirements for Qualifying Widow(er) w/dependent child (all must apply):
    • Taxpayer was entitled to file a joint return in the year of their spouse's death
    • The taxpayer did not remarry before the end of the tax year
    • Has a qualified child, stepchild, adopted child or foster child for the year
    • Paid for more than half of the home upkeep for the taxpayer and child
Gross Income
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Build a Retirement Portfolio for a Different World

    When it comes to retirement rules of thumb, the financial industry is experiencing new guidelines and the new rules for navigating retirement.
  2. Trading Strategies

    Only Take a Trade If It Passes This 5-Step Test

    Not every moment is a good trading opportunity. Put each trade through this five-step test, so you're trading only at the best profit potential times.
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: United States 12 Month Oil

    Find out more information about the United States 12 Month Oil ETF, and explore detailed analysis of the characteristics, suitability and recommendations of it.
  4. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: ProShares Ultra Nasdaq Biotechnology

    Find out information about the ProShares Ultra Nasdaq Biotechnology exchange-traded fund, and learn detailed analysis of its characteristics and suitability.
  5. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares Floating Rate Bond

    Explore detailed analysis and information of the iShares Floating Rate Bond ETF, and learn how to use this ETF as a defense against rising interest rates.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: PowerShares DB Commodity Tracking

    Find out about the PowerShares DB Commodity Tracking ETF, and explore a detailed analysis of the fund that tracks 14 distinct commodities using futures contracts.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: PowerShares FTSE RAFI US 1000

    Find out about the PowerShares FTSE RAFI U.S. 1000 ETF, and explore detailed analysis of the fund that invests in undervalued stocks.
  8. Options & Futures

    Use Options to Hedge Against Iron Ore Downslide

    Using iron ore options is a way to take advantage of a current downslide in iron ore prices, whether for producers or traders.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: Vanguard Small-Cap Value

    Find out about the Vanguard Small-Cap Value ETF, and explore detailed analysis of its characteristics, suitability, recommendations and historical statistics.
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corp Bd

    Learn about the Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF, and explore detailed analysis of the fund's characteristics, risks and historical statistics.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Net Line

    The amount of risk that an insurance company retains after subtracting ...
  2. Political Risk Insurance

    Coverage that provides financial protection to investors, financial ...
  3. Maximum Drawdown (MDD)

    The maximum loss from a peak to a trough of a portfolio, before ...
  4. Gross Exposure

    The absolute level of a fund's investments.
  5. Priori Loss Estimates

    A technique used by insurance companies to calculate loss reserves.
  6. Value Of Risk (VOR)

    The financial benefit that a risk-taking activity will bring ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. Is my IRA/Roth IRA FDIC-Insured?

    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC, is a government-run agency that provides protection against losses if ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Does index trading increase market vulnerability?

    The rise of index trading may increase the overall vulnerability of the stock market due to increased correlations between ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are common delta hedging strategies?

    The term delta refers to the change in price of an underlying stock or exchange-traded fund (ETF) as compared to the corresponding ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does being overweight in a particular sector increase risk to a portfolio?

    An investor who is overweight in a particular sector risks a loss in value for the portfolio if there is a downturn in that ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the primary risks an investor should consider when investing in the retail ...

    The retail sector consists of companies operating in multiple industries such as specialty retail, general retail, food and ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What risks do I face when investing in the insurance sector?

    Like all equity investments, insurance companies present investors with market risk. Insurance companies, like banks, also ... Read Full Answer >>
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!