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What is Tax Filing Status?

Tax filing status or just filing status is very important in a tax return. A taxpayer can only have one tax filing status. There are five tax filing status to choose from and the right tax filing status is not always obvious.

While the single tax filing status as well as the married filing jointly or married filing separately tax filing statuses are quite straight forward to understand, head of household tax filing status and Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child tax filing status are not as easy to understand.

What is a tax filing status?

A tax filing status is a status that the IRS assigns to each taxpayer depending on their situation. There are many implications for filing tax return with the right tax filing status.

Why is there a tax filing status? What is the tax filing status used for?

When filing tax return, everyone has to pick a tax filing status and the IRS uses the tax filing status for each person to:

  • determine the tax filing requirements,
  • determine the tax rate,
  • determine the standard deduction
  • determine which tax forms to use
  • determine if certain tax deductions and credits apply
What does the tax filing status depend on?

The tax filing status depends on a taxpayer's marital status and family situation. A taxpayer is considered, for tax purposes, either:

  • married (legal union between a man and a woman) or
  • unmarried
How can someone be considered unmarried?

A taxpayer is considered unmarried for the whole tax year if on the last day of the tax year, he or she is:

  • unmarried, or
  • legally separated from his or her spouse under a divorce decree or separate maintenance agreement decree (State Law)



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