What’s Your Filing Status?

To prepare your 2014 federal income tax return, you must determine which one of five filing status options fits your situation.

Here’s an overview.

  • Single. You’re considered single if you’re unmarried, divorced, or legally separated as of the last day of the tax year.
  • Married filing jointly. When you’re legally married under the laws of your state, you can elect to combine your income with that of your spouse and file a joint return.
  • Married filing separately. Separating your tax liability from that of your spouse can be beneficial in some situations. Be aware that certain breaks, such as the child and dependent care credit, may not be available if you chose this filing status.
  • Head of household. This is the filing status to use if you’re single and provide more than half the cost of maintaining a household for a dependent who lives with you. Head of household tax brackets are more generous than those for single filers, but less broad than the brackets for married filers who complete a joint return.
  • Qualifying widow or widower. You may be able to benefit from the favorable tax rates of joint filers and claim the highest standard deduction for up to two years after the death of your spouse if you remain unmarried during that time. To qualify, you must maintain a household for a dependent child who lives with you.

Your filing status affects many tax calculations, including deductions, credits, and tax due. Give us a call if you’re not sure which status is right for you. We’re here to help.