This article was last edited on Feb. 16, 2016. For updated information on Filing Statuses, visit this post.
Don’t take filing status for granted. It could be an important factor in getting that maximum refund. If you are new to tax preparation and filing status is confusing you- here are a few tidbits to get you started.
1. Even if they are not working, have never worked and have no intention of working, your spouse is not considered your dependent. If you are married, you have the option of filing Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Separate. In some cases, other filing statuses may apply to you even if you are married but not living with your spouse.
2. If you are married, 9 times out of 10, you should file Married Filing Jointly because you are eligible for benefits not due to other filing statuses, such as a higher standard deduction. However, everyone’s tax situation is different and you should choose the legal filing status that is most advantageous to you.
3. Head of household means “single with qualified dependents.” You could even use this filing status if you are married but “considered unmarried” according to IRS guidelines.
4. If your spouse dies before you file your current year’s tax return and you have not remarried you can file as Married Filing Joint. If you have a qualified dependent and you have not remarried, you may file as a Qualifying Widower for the next two years after your spouses death. This is important because Qualifying Widower provides a higher standard deduction than Head of Household.
5. Sometimes deciding if you have to file as Single versus other filing statuses can be tricky especially if you have qualified dependents or if you are separated from your spouse. Luckily for you, TaxSlayer has an easy to use filing status wizard to help you with choosing the correct filing status and ensure you keep that maximum refund.