Michael Lodge –
Every year when clients come into the office the question that we ask our clients – what is your filing status. We get a lot of answers so today lets see how the IRS views it. If you have a question on the filing status, how to change your filing status, call our office at: 877.778.1770.
When taxpayers file their tax return, it’s important they use the right filing status because it can affect the amount of tax they owe for the year. It may even determine if they must file a tax return at all. Taxpayers should keep in mind that their marital status on Dec. 31 is their status for the whole year.
Sometimes more than one filing status may apply to taxpayers. When that happens, taxpayers should choose the one that allows them to pay the least amount of tax.
When filing their tax return, taxpayers have IRS e-file as the easiest and most accurate way to file. Its tax software helps them choose the right filing status. Most people can use tax software and e-file for free with IRS Free File. This is a free service only available on the IRS website. Visit IRS.gov and click “Free File” on the home page.
Here’s a list of the five filing statuses:
- 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. Other conditions also apply.