Filing status is of great importance when it comes to filing your tax return. It is important to determine your filing status by checking out the requirements for filing. The right filing status will make sure you are paying the right amount of tax. So, it is crucial to choose the right filing status before you file your tax return.
You can file your tax return under any of the following statuses:
Your filing status is determined by your status as of December 31. You should file as single, if on December 31:
You can use Form 1040EZ, if you have no dependents, are less than 65 years of age, not disabled, and are not using any special deductions or exemptions; otherwise you will use Form 1040 or Form 1040A to file as single.
You can file under this status if you are considered married and both you and your spouse agree to file tax return jointly. It will require both of you to report your combined income and exemptions and the allowable expenses. It must be signed by both of you.
Joint filing usually lowers your tax considerably, when compared to other statuses. It will also maximize your standard deduction and entitle you to tax benefits that are otherwise not available.
Under this status, both of you will be held jointly and individually responsible for any tax, interest, and penalties that are due on your return.. But, in some cases one spouse may be exempted from the joint responsibility for items of the other spouse that were included in the return.
Here are cases where you can expect to get relief from joint responsibility:
If you file Married Filing Jointly you must use form 1040 or 1040A to file your tax return.
This is another option for tax return filers who are married and want to keep their tax liability separate. You must file Married Filing Separately or Married Filing Jointly if the court has not issued a divorce decree or you are not a qualifying widow/widower.
As the name suggests, to file a separate return you are required to include only your own income, exemptions, and deductions in the return. If your spouse does not have any income and is depending on you, you cannot claim your spouse as a dependant.
The filing forms required for this status are same as those used for Married Filing Jointly.
If you use this status, you cannot:
Therefore, it is advised that both you and your spouse compare your tax situation and decide whether Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately is better for you.
You can file your tax return using this status if:
To file under this status, you can use either Form 1040A or Form 1040. With this status, you will be entitled to higher standard deduction.
What is Head of Household status?
You will be considered the Head of Household if:
However, if you lived in a community property state and were considered married for some part of the year, then special rules will determine your income and expenses.
You will be eligible to use this filing status only if you meet all the following criteria:
You can use Form 1040A or Form 1040 to file your tax return under "Qualifying Widow/Widower" status.