With the 2015 tax season right around the corner, it’s time to start putting together your documents. It’s important to choose the right filing status on your tax return as it will affect the taxes you owe. If you can choose between two statuses, choose the one that will allow you to pay the lowest amount in taxes. Keep in mind that your status on December 31 of the tax year is your status for the entire year. The five filing statuses are:
Single: This status normally applies if you aren’t married. It applies if you are divorced or legally separated under state law.
Married Filing Jointly: If you’re married, you and your spouse can file a joint tax return together. If your spouse died in 2015, you often can file a joint return for that year.
Married Filing Separately: A married couple can choose to file two separate tax returns. This choice may benefit you if it results in less tax than if you file a joint tax return. It’s a good idea for you to prepare your taxes both ways before you choose. You can also use it if you want to be responsible only for your own tax.
Head of Household: In most cases, this status applies if you are not married, but there are some special rules. You also must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for yourself and a qualifying person. Don’t choose this status by mistake and be sure to check all the rules before you file.
Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child: This status may apply to you if your spouse died during prior tax years and you have a dependent child. Certain other conditions also apply.