Married – Must File Jointly, Single, etc?
Choosing the Correct Filing Status

Five filing statuses:

  1. Single. Normally this status is for taxpayers who aren’t married, or who are divorced or legally separated under state law.
  2. Married Filing Jointly. If taxpayers are married, they can file a joint tax return. If a spouse died, the widowed spouse can often file a joint return for that year. –
    1. If you want ACA – Obamacare tax credits, you MUST file jointly
      1. See Publication 974 for details  and certain exceptions
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

The “Filing” tab on IRS.gov can help with many taxpayers’ federal income tax filing needs. The Interactive Tax Assistant tool can help taxpayers choose the right filing status.

Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information.

On IRS.gov/forms, people can view, download or print the tax products they need.

All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.

IRS Video on Tax Filing Status

Premium Tax Credit - Publication 974
Premium Tax Credit – Publication 974
Jan 23, 2015 Got a tax law question? Our Interactive Tax Assistant has answers. Just go to irs.gov/ita.

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