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
Personal FinanceFor many couples, it pays to file for taxes together. But what are some of the obstacles you should watch out for?
Personal FinanceIf you are a caregiver, get to know the rules for claiming a dependent before filing your taxes.
TaxesIn order to file as head of household, you must meet several requirements. Find out whether being head of household comes with any tax benefits.
TaxesMarried couples that file a joint tax return can enjoy several credits and benefits that aren’t available when filing separately.
Financial AdvisorIt's time to think about tax returns again. The good news is that the regulations in 2016 have not changed dramatically from last year.
Personal FinanceSame-sex couples now have a variety of tax strategies to consider.
TaxesDon't miss out on the tax changes. Here's a list that you need to know about.
Personal FinanceBecause many men and women are earning higher incomes, the financial benefits of marriage may not be as great as they were in the past.
TaxesUse this quick parental guide to help your child learn the tax filing process and establish good habits.
TaxesDivorce is a rough transition. Make the tax changes as easy as possible with these tips.