How to choose the correct tax filing status and why your selection from 5 really matters in getting your rebate

CHECKING the filing status box at the top of your income tax form might be the easiest part of the process, but the five choices couldn’t be more different.

Whether taxpayers select application, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, or widow qualified (er) above Tax form 1040, the tax filing status ultimately determines the amount payer get back.

Taxpayers choose between five status options when filing their taxes each year


Taxpayers choose between five status options when filing their taxes each yearCredit: Getty

It is important to know the difference between the five options.

Selected filing status on an income tax form that identifies the taxpayer application requirements, standard deduction, properly taxed and qualified to certain credits, follow Internal Revenue Service.

“Taxpayers can claim more than one filing status,” says the IRS about teaching module website.

“Typically, taxpayers will choose the filing state that results in the lowest tax rate.”


Unmarried people with no dependents are eligible for sole proprietorship status.

If by the last day of the year you are not married or legally separated from your spouse by a decree of divorce or separation and you are not eligible to file another petition, then you are eligible. to submit a single application.

Usually, if your income is high and you are filing as a single person, you may owe less tax.

In many states, it’s harder for single taxpayers to be taxed at a higher rate than married couples.


When filing jointly, married couples report their combined income and deduct the combined allowable expenses.

It is generally wiser for married couples to file jointly, according to Yahoo! Tax expert news.

“There are certain tax deductions that can be dropped or forfeited when several people file separately,” said certified public accountant Jeffrey Wood.

“Additionally, tax rates are generally higher for single or married individuals filing separately than for joint filers.”


To qualify for this status, you must be legally married.

If you want to be responsible for your own taxes or if this results in a lower tax rate than a joint return, that’s the way to go.

Examples of reasons to file separately might be significant income differences for each spouse, or a spouse with pre-existing debts.

Also, if you and your spouse are separating or are considering, tax experts say you can file separately.


The head of the household is an unmarried person with dependents.

According to the IRS, a person filing as head of household must meet three criteria.

First, you must be unmarried or considered unmarried by the last day of the year.

You also have to pay at least half of the cost to maintain the house for a year.

Finally, a qualifying person must live with you in that home for more than half a year, excluding temporary absences such as school.

An eligible person can be anyone who depends on you, usually a minor like your child, stepchild or adopted child.

However, if you are taking care of your brother, sister, brother, grandparent, parent or other relative and consider them a dependent, they do not have to live with you.


The first thing you should know is that there is a time limit to applying with this status.

“The year of death is the last year you can file jointly with your deceased spouse,” the IRS says.

“You may be eligible to use(er)eligible widow with dependent children as your filing status for two years after the year your spouse died.”

While this status doesn’t allow you to file a joint return, it does allow you to use the highest common tax rate and standard deduction amount.

After two years, your widowhood reverts to head of household or single unless you remarry.

If you are still not sure which status to choose, the dealer can interactive tax assistant tool on their website use questionnaires to help users determine their application status.

To use this tool, taxpayers will need to have information ready including their marital status and the year of their spouse’s death, if applicable, as well as the percentage of expenses that family members spend. of the user to pay in maintaining the house.

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