Choosing the correct filing status for this year
Most of us like to update our social media status – but we all need to file our tax status
When we file our tax return, it’s important that we use the right filing status because it can actually affect the amount of tax we owe for the year. It may even determine if we must file a tax return at all! Taxpayers should keep in mind that their marital status on December 31st is their status for the whole year.
Sometimes more than one filing status may apply. When that happens, taxpayers should choose the one that allows them to pay the least amount of tax – we like that, right?
Here’s a list of the five filing statuses to help you out:
- Single – Normally this status is for taxpayers who aren’t married, or who are divorced or legally separated under state law.
- Married Filing Jointly – If taxpayers are married, they can file a joint tax return. If a spouse died in 2016, the widowed spouse can often file a joint return for that year.
- Married Filing Separately – A married couple can choose to file two separate tax returns. This may benefit them if it results in less tax owed than if they file a joint tax return. Taxpayers may want to prepare their taxes both ways before they choose. They can also use this status if each wants to be responsible only for their own tax.
- Head of Household – In most cases, this status applies to a taxpayer who is not married, but there are some special rules. For example, the taxpayer must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for themselves and a qualifying person. Don’t choose this status by mistake. Be sure to check all the rules.
- Qualifying Widow/er with Dependent Child – This status may apply to a taxpayer if their spouse died during 2014 or 2015 and they have a dependent child.
If you have any questions about your filing status, we are happy to help. Let’s keep your filing status up to date!