Do You Know Your Tax Filing Status?

7 - word chalkboardIRS Tax Tip #7 from Carpenter, Evert and Associates – Your Tax Filing Status

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Not sure what filing status to use when you file your taxes? The IRS has some helpful guidelines:

Choosing the Right Filing Status –

Using the correct filing status is very important when you file your tax return. You need to use the right statusTaxes - white note with pushpin because it affects how much you pay in taxes. It may even affect whether you must file a tax return.

When choosing a filing status, keep in mind that your marital status on Dec. 31 is your status for the whole year. If more than one filing status applies to you, choose the one that will result in the lowest tax.

Note for same-sex married couples. New rules apply to you if you were legally married in a state or foreign country that recognizes same-sex marriage. You and your spouse generally must use a married filing status on your 2013 federal tax return. This is true even if you and your spouse now live in a state or foreign country that does not recognize same-sex marriage. See irs.gov and the instructions for your tax return for more information.

Here is a list of the five filing statuses to help you choose:

1. Single.  This filing status normally applies if you aren’t married or are divorced or legally separated under state law.

2. Married Filing Jointly.  A married couple can file one tax return together. If your spouse died in 2013, you usually can still file a joint return for that year using this filing status.

3. Married Filing Separately.  A married couple can choose to file two separate tax returns instead of one joint return. This filing status may be to your benefit if it results in less tax. You can also use it if you want to be responsible only for your own tax.

4. Head of Household.  This filing status normally applies if you are not married. You also must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for yourself and a qualifying person. Some people choose this status by mistake. Be sure to check all the rules before you file.

5. Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child.  If your spouse died during 2011 or 2012 and you have a dependent child, this filing status may apply. Certain other conditions also apply.

IRS e-file will help you choose the right filing status. You can also find the rules on this topic in Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information. It’s available on IRS.gov or by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Additional IRS Resources:

Carpenter, Evert and Associates Top Ten Tax Tips for 2014:

  1. How to Choose Professional Tax Services
  2. Are you Eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit?
  3. Tax Return Information is Now at Your Fingertips  
  4. Don’t Miss Out on Important Tax Credits
  5. Tax Benefits for Parents
  6. How Will the Affordable Care Act Affect Your Taxes?
  7. Do you Know Your Tax Filing Status?
  8. What to Know About Declaring your Tips 
  9. Taxable and Nontaxable Income – What’s the Difference? 
  10. Tax Deductions for Charitable Contributions

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