Qualifying Widow/Widower

DEFINITION of 'Qualifying Widow/Widower'

A federal tax filing status available to widows and widowers for two years after their spouse's death. In the year the spouse dies, the widow or widower can (but is not required to) still file as married filing jointly; he or she could then file as qualifying widow/widower for the two years after that unless he or she remarries during that period. While the surviving spouse cannot continue to claim an exemption for the deceased spouse, he or she can take the same standard deduction as a married couple filing jointly. This filing status can ease the financial sting of losing a spouse.

BREAKING DOWN 'Qualifying Widow/Widower'

To claim this status, the IRS also requires that the taxpayer have a child who will be claimed as a dependent, that the child live in the home with the widow/widower all year, that the widow/widower will pay over half the cost of keeping up his or her home, and that the widow/widower was eligible to file a joint return in the year the spouse died.



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