Today we’ll discuss filing statuses.
Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) there has been many changes for this tax season through 2023. Filing statuses, however, remains virtually unchanged.
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 2018, 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 2017 or 2018 and they have a dependent child. Other conditions also apply. Qualifying Widow(er) would use the same rates as if still married.
When looking at standard deductions, you’ve noticed a difference if you are over age 65.
A couple of other things to point out.
While there is always an exception, married couples are almost always better off filing jointly. Many credits are eliminated with the Married Filing separately status.
To qualify as Head of Household, you must have paid more than half the support of another qualified person.
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