Filing Status

The status of your tax filing is one of the most important decisions you make at the time of taxation. In addition to the tax rates and the different amounts you can deduct, your filing status determines the benefits for which you are eligible. Your registration status depends on your marital status as of 31 December of the tax year and whether or not you have dependents to claim. Taxpayers married on the last day of the tax year have two options for filing: separately or jointly. If a person lives separately from his or her spouse and can claim a dependent, he or she can be eligible to file as the head of the house. Couples who have chosen to file together can use the married status and file a single return combined with income and deductions. Joint filing can save the couple cash when preparing their tax return. For couples who go through a divorce or for those who need to keep their records and finances separate, filing separately is an option.

Taxpayers who are not married on 31 December of the tax year are likely to file as singles. Those individual taxpayers who have a dependent should be aware that if they file with the head of household status, they may receive additional benefits. Head of the household status usually gives a higher standard deduction and a lower tax rate than the single status, so you should consider maximizing your benefits when applicable. Widow(er) Taxpayers whose spouse died in the current tax year should use the married status and can file separately or jointly. If the spouse died in the two years prior to the current tax year, the status of a qualifying widow should be applied. This filing status allows you to file together under the same conditions as you were allowed to do during your marriage.