DEFINITION of 'Single Filer'

The filing status used by a taxpayer who is unmarried and does not qualify for any other filing status. Single filers include, according to The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), people who on the last day of the year are unmarried or are legally separated from a spouse under a divorce or separate maintenance decree, and he or she does not qualify for another filing status. Widow(er)s may be able to use the single filing status, but another filing status may prove to be more favorable. If more than one filing status applies to a taxpayer, he or she may choose the one that gives the lowest tax.

BREAKING DOWN 'Single Filer'

All persons who are required to file an income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service must choose a filing status. An individual can file under the five following statuses: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child.


Tax rates and standard deductions differ between the various filing statuses. Single filers can use IRS Form 1040EZ (if they have no dependent, are under age 65 and not blind, and meet other requirements), Form 1040A or Form 1040.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Filing Status

    A category that defines the type of tax return form an individual ...
  2. IRS Publication 501

    A document published by the Internal Revenue Service that covers ...
  3. Individual Tax Return

    The type of tax return filed by an individual. Both single and ...
  4. Joint Return

    A U.S. income tax return filed on behalf of a married couple, ...
  5. Married Filing Jointly

    A filing status for married couples that have wed before the ...
  6. 1040 Form

    The standard Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form that individuals ...
Related Articles
  1. Taxes

    Income Tax Brackets for 2015-2016

    Learn about the 2015-2016 tax brackets, how to calculate your marginal tax rate, the five types of filing status and how to qualify for them.
  2. Financial Advisor

    Tax Time is Coming; Don't Be Caught Off Guard

    It's time to think about tax returns again. The good news is that the regulations in 2016 have not changed dramatically from last year.
  3. Taxes

    Newlyweds? Tips For Filing Your Tax Return

    For many couples, it pays to file for taxes together. But what are some of the obstacles you should watch out for?
  4. Taxes

    Do You Qualify as Head of Household?

    When you hear the term “head of household,” what comes to mind? The breadwinner? The main source of household income? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
  5. Taxes

    Happily Married? File Taxes Separately!

    Just because you are in love doesn't mean that a joint return is best for both of you.
  6. Taxes

    Top Reasons to File Separately When Married

    Usually couples file their taxes jointly, not separately. Except for these possible exceptions...
  7. Managing Wealth

    How & Where to File Form 1040 (And Which Version)

    All taxpayers need to know three things when filing a 1040: which form to use, how to file and where to file. After reading this, you'll know all three.
  8. Taxes

    Gay Marriage and Taxes: Everything You Should Know

    Same-sex couples now have a variety of tax strategies to consider.
  9. Financial Advisor

    2016 Tax Code Changes Add Some Wiggle Room

    It's never too early to prepare for tax season. Next year features a host of tax law changes. Check our handy list to see which ones apply to you.
  10. Taxes

    Should Married Taxpayers File Together?

    Married couples that file a joint tax return can enjoy several credits and benefits that aren’t available when filing separately.
Hot Definitions
  1. Federal Direct Loan Program

    A program that provides low-interest loans to postsecondary students and their parents. The William D. Ford Federal Direct ...
  2. Cash Flow

    The net amount of cash and cash-equivalents moving into and out of a business. Positive cash flow indicates that a company's ...
  3. PLUS Loan

    A low-cost student loan offered to parents of students currently enrolled in post-secondary education. With a PLUS Loan, ...
  4. Graduate Record Examination - GRE

    A standardized exam used to measure one's aptitude for abstract thinking in the areas of analytical writing, mathematics ...
  5. Graduate Management Admission Test - GMAT

    A standardized test intended to measure a test taker's aptitude in mathematics and the English language. The GMAT is most ...
  6. Magna Cum Laude

    An academic level of distinction used by educational institutions to signify an academic degree which was received "with ...
Trading Center