Selecting the Right Marital Status on Tax Return

By | February 7, 2015

It is important that you use the correct filing status to file your tax return. Your filing status and marital status may affect the tax amount you owe for the year. You can also help determine if you really need to file tax return or not. Please note that your marital status on December 31, is their status throughout the tax year.


Selecting the Right Marital Status on Tax Return

IRS e-file is the easiest and accurate way to file your return. The tax preparation software you use to file your return electronically helps you choose the correct filing status. Remember, most people can use free software tax preparation and e-file through the IRS Free File. The free service is available only through the website at Click ” Free-File “on the main page of


Here is a list of the five tax filing statuses:

  1. Single. This category usually applies if you are not married or is divorced or legally separated according to state law.
  2. Married filing jointly. If you are married, you and your spouse can file a joint return. If your spouse died in 2014, usually you may still declare together that year.
  3. Married Filing Separately.  A married couple may elect to file two tax returns separately. This filing status may benefit you if it results in less tax. It’s a good idea to prepare your taxes both ways before deciding which tax status to use. You can also use if you want to be responsible only for their own taxes .
  4. Head of Household. In most cases, this filing status applies if you are not married, but there are some special rules. Also should have paid more than half the cost of maintaining a home for you and other qualified person. Do not select this tax filing status by mistake. Be sure to review all rules before submitting your tax return.
  5. Widow (er) with Dependent Child Qualified. This filing status may apply to you if your spouse died in 2012 or 2013 and you have a dependent child. Some other conditions also apply to select this filing status.


Information to Same-Sex Couples

Note for married same-sex couples. In most cases, you and your spouse must use a civil status that applies to married couples to file your federal tax return if you are legally married in a state or foreign country that recognizes marriages same sex. This applies even if we now live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages. Visit for more information

Visit and click ‘ Filing ‘ for help with your federal tax return. Use the tool Interactive Tax Assistant  to help you select the correct filing status. For more information on this topic, see Publication 501 Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information Statement. Visit to view, download or print the tax products you need.

Additional Resources from the IRS: