There are five different filing statuses to choose from when filing your tax return; Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household, and Qualifying Widow(er). Here are some tips to help you understand the different filing statuses.
- Your marital status on the last day of the year determines your marital status for the entire year.
- If more than one filing status applies to you, choose the one that gives you the lowest tax obligation.
- Single filing status generally applies to anyone who is unmarried, divorced or legally separated according to state law.
- A married couple may file a joint return together. The couple’s filing status would be Married Filing Jointly.
- If your spouse died during the tax year and you did not remarry during the tax year, usually you may still file a joint return with that spouse for the year of death.
- A married couple may elect to file their returns separately. Each person’s filing status would generally be Married Filing Separately.
- Head of Household generally applies to taxpayers who are unmarried. You must also have paid more than half the cost of maintaining a home for you and a qualifying person to qualify for this filing status.
- You may be able to choose Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child as your filing status, if your spouse died during within the last two years, you have a dependent child, and you meet certain other conditions.
Why It Pays To Hire A Tax Professional
The IRS's numbers show that an increasing number of taxpayers are using software programs to prepare and file their own returns. However, the cost savings may not always be worth it. With the complexity of the laws, it is easy for taxpayers to overlook required fillings and to mishandle deductions. Tax professionals can help ensure that taxpayers do not pay too much or too little and that they avoid the ever-increasing penalties. The National Society of Tax Professionals undertook a recent survey of court cases where taxpayers tried to avoid penalties by claiming the tax software program they were using caused an underpayment of the tax. In case after case, the Court denied relief to the taxpayers, pointing out that the programs are only as good as the information the taxpayers puts into them. In not one case did the taxpayer win with this argument. Hiring a tax professional can pay for itself very quickly with just the addition of minimal deductions and the avoidance of even small penalty amounts. For more information regarding social security please visit, www.socialsecurity.gov. Here you can change your address where your Social Security check, set up or change direct deposit of benefits, request an income statement (SSA-1099), and access many other services.
Have questions about specific due dates for:
- Taking other actions required by federal tax law.
Are you cleaning out your filing cabinet? Refer to the following document to help you decide what you need to keep and for how long.
Are you starting a business? If you need advice on business taxes, expenses, and record keeping please see IRS Publication 583.