Filing Status for Tax Purpose

In this blog, we’re going to learn about filing status. There are five (5) statuses.

1. Single – This is determined by your December 31 status. So, by December 31 of the calendar year, if you are single or legally separated, your filing status is “Single”

2. Married filing jointly (even if only one had income) – in order to file a joint return, both parties must be married at the end of the year, living together in a recognized common law marriage, or married and living apart but not legally separated.

3. Married filing separately – if elected to file separately, both parties must report his/her own income, exemptions, credits, and deductions on their individual tax returns. In a community property state, most of the income, deductions, credits are split evenly.

4. Qualifying widow(er) – the surviving spouse can file a joint tax return standard deduction and rates (but not the exemption for the deceased spouse) for two years after the death of his/her spouse. Additionally, the surviving spouse must maintain a household that, for the whole entire taxable year, was the principal residence of one or more dependents.

5.Head of Household – to qualify, the taxpayer must be single, legally separated, or is married but has lived apart from his/her spouse for the last 6 months of the year. The taxpayer maintains a household that, for more than half the taxable year, was the was the principal residence of one or more dependents. If the dependents are his/her parents, the parents do not have to live with the taxpayer. Everyone else must live with the taxpayer.

The filing status is important. Do not neglect to understand which one best decribes your situation. Filing status determines the amount of the standard deduction. Here’s the standard deduction rates for tax year 2011:

  • Single $5,800
    • If 65 or older, $7,250
  • Married $11,600
    • If 65 or older, $12,750; if both spouses 65 or older, $13,900
  • Head of Household $8,500
    • If 65 or older, $9,950
  • Blind receive $1,150 more ($1,450 if unmarried and no surviving spouse)

Click here to learn about the basic tax formula. If  you need help filing your taxes, contact me

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