Taxpayers should know and understand their correct filing status

Generally, the taxpayer’s filing status depends on whether they are single or married on Dec. 31 and that determines their status for the whole year. However, more than one filing status may apply in certain situations. If this is the case, taxpayers can usually choose the filing status that allows them to pay the least amount of tax.
When preparing and filing a tax return, the filing status affects:
• If the taxpayer is required to file a federal tax return
• If they should file a return in order to receive a refund
• Their standard deduction amount
• If they can claim certain credits
• The amount of tax they should pay
The five filing statuses:
• Single- Normally this status is for single taxpayers who are unmarried, divorced or legally separated
• Married filing jointly- If a taxpayer is married, they can file a joint return with their spouse.
• Married filing separate- Married couples can choose to file separate tax returns.
• Head of Household- Unmarried taxpayers may be able to file using this status, but special rules apply.
• Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child- This status may apply to the taxpayer if their spouse died during one of the two years and have a dependent child. Other conditions also apply.