Filing Status

Here’s a list of the five filing statuses:

  1. Single. This status normally applies if you aren’t married. It applies if you are divorced or legally separated under state law.

  2. Married Filing Jointly. If you’re married, you and your spouse can file a joint tax return. If your spouse died in 2015, you can often file a joint return for that year.

  3. Married Filing Separately. A married couple can choose to file two separate tax returns. This may benefit you if it results in less tax owed than if you file a joint tax return. You may want to prepare your taxes both ways before you choose. You can also use it if you want to be responsible only for your own tax.

  4. Head of Household. In most cases, this status applies if you are not married, but there are some special rules. For example, you must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for yourself and a qualifying person. Don’t choose this status by mistake. Be sure to check all the rules.

  5. Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child. This status may apply to you if your spouse died during 2018 and you have a dependent child. Certain other conditions apply. Generally You can qualify for this status if you have not remarried for the tax year when your spouse died and the following two years. You file a Joint return with your spouse for the year in which he/she died and use the Qualifying widow(er) status for the following two years.

For other details and restrictions, kindly refer to IRS Publication 17