DEFINITION of 'Filing Status'

A category that defines the type of tax return form an individual will use. Filing status is closely tied to marital status.

The five filing statuses are:

1. Single filer
2. Married person filing jointly or surviving spouse
3. Married person filing separately
4. Head of household
5. Qualifying window(er) with dependent child

BREAKING DOWN 'Filing Status'

The filing status is important because a person's tax bracket (and therefore the amount he or she must pay) is determined by marital status, number of children, occupation and several other factors. You must file your status honestly, or it will be considered fraudulent and penalties will be assessed.

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