A taxpayer’s filing status (except Head of Household) is based on their marital status as of the last day of the year and in the case of married individuals whether they wish to file jointly or separately. Thus, if not married on the last day of the tax year, the taxpayer would generally file as “single” status. If married on the last day of the year, he/she would file as married filing jointly or as married filing separately. A taxpayer’s filing status determines the amount of their standard deduction for the year and income levels where tax rates change. In addition to the filing statuses discussed above and the Head of Household discussed separately, there is one additional rarely used status called qualified widow(er) with a dependent child. It is for a surviving spouse who is allowed to use the married filing joint rates for the two years after the year of death of a spouse if certain requirements are met.
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