Determining Your Tax Status

Determining Your Tax Status
Knowing how to​ determine your tax status,​ and knowing the​ difference between each group will help to​ make filing your income tax return go smoother .​
Here we will discuss the​ ways in​ which you​ determine which status to​ file under.
There are five classifications from which you​ choose to​ file: single,​ married filing jointly,​ married filing separately,​ head of​ household or​ qualifying widower with dependent child .​
If for some reason,​ more than one status applies to​ you,​ you​ should choose the​ status that gives you​ the​ greatest tax benefit.
Determining your status as​ a​ single filer seems simple enough,​ but there are different situations that exist that can qualify the​ taxpayer as​ single .​
For example,​ if​ you​ are legally separated even in​ the​ last month of​ the​ year,​ you​ are considered single for the​ entire year .​
With no dependents and you​ are unmarried,​ you​ are considered single .​
Divorce and annulment within the​ year also qualifies you​ to​ file as​ single.
However,​ even if​ you​ are single,​ but you​ have a​ dependent,​ or​ were widowed during the​ tax year,​ and you​ have dependents,​ your filing status would change to​ head of​ household or​ widowed with qualifying dependent child,​ not single.
When it​ comes to​ determining your status as​ a​ married taxpayer,​ there are simple qualification assessments that establish your legal filing status and if​ you’re considered married .​
Obviously,​ if​ you​ are legally married and living together as​ husband and wife,​ even for a​ small part of​ the​ tax year,​ then you​ would be considered married .​
If you​ are living together as​ common law spouses,​ and it​ is​ legally recognized in​ the​ state in​ which you​ live,​ or​ you​ lived part of​ the​ tax year in​ the​ state where the​ common law marriage began,​ then your filing status is​ married .​
Your filing status is​ still married even if​ you​ are married but not living together,​ but are not legally separated or​ divorced .​
If you​ have unique circumstances,​ it​ might not be so easy to​ determine your filing status .​
If,​ for example,​ you​ were widowed during the​ tax year and did not remarry,​ you​ can file as​ married with your deceased spouse,​ and then file as​ widowed with qualified dependents for the​ next two years,​ so long as​ you​ do not remarry .​
If you​ remarry within the​ tax year that your spouse passed away,​ you​ would file as​ married with your current spouse,​ and file with your deceased spouse as​ married filing separately .​

If you​ are married and want to​ file a​ joint return,​ your tax status is​ married filing jointly .​
All income to​ the​ household must be included on​ the​ one return,​ and both spouses must sign and date prior to​ submitting the​ tax return .​
All exemptions,​ deductions,​ and credits are reported on​ the​ joint return,​ and you​ share equal responsibility and liability for the​ information reported on​ the​ tax return,​ as​ well as​ any tax money owed .​
There are ways to​ ask for release from joint responsibility,​ either through innocent spouse relief,​ separation of​ liability for spouses who have not lived together for the​ past year,​ or​ equitable relief.
There are sometimes reasons that a​ spouse cannot sign a​ joint tax return,​ such as​ a​ spouse stationed abroad for the​ military .​
In this type of​ situation,​ you​ may sign for your spouse as​ a​ proxy,​ and attach a​ written explanation.
Choosing your filing status,​ while lengthy and sometimes complicated,​ is​ an​ important in​ the​ process of​ completing your Federal Income Tax return.

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