This week it’s all about your filing status. Filing status refers to the manner in which you file your tax return: Single, Head of Household (HOH), Married filing joint (MFJ), Married filing separate (MFS) and Qualified Widow(er).
Your filing status can change year to year. In fact it can change more than once during the year. Let’s say on January 1 you’re unmarried without children but on February 1 you marry. You are considered married for the entire year and you and your spouse will need to decide if you will be filing MFJ or MFS.
Now, if (heaven forbid) you and your spouse separate you may actually need to file single depending on the date of separation. If you and your spouse did not live together during the last 6 months of the year, you are regarded as unmarried at the end of the year and may file as a single person. You may also be considered single if you are legally separated from your spouse. Whew, you’ve had a busy year!
The other filing statuses may seem less complicated but they all have their own set of instructions to follow. Here is brief breakdown of each:
Single - considered unmarried at the end of the year and no qualifying persons to claim.
HOH - Single but are able to claim a qualifying person.
MFJ - You and your spouse will be filing a return with both your names as the heading.
MFS - You and your spouse will file separate returns (similar to filing single).
QW - Your spouse has passed away and you have dependent children (similar to MFJ but spouse will be listed as deceased).
There are other nuances to each of the above status and as always contact your tax profession to determine that you are filing with the proper filing status.