How To Choose Your Tax Filing Status Wisely For 2019 - 2020

Which Tax Filing Status Saves You $?

Choosing the right tax filing status that best suits you and your needs for the 2019 - 2020 tax season can be an important factor that may even save you some serious cash. You may or may not have choices in the tax filing status you use.

The right tax filing status can offer you opportunities to save some cash on your income taxes this tax season.

By exploring your tax filing status options you can learn more about the advantages different status selections offer in tax savings.

The first step when preparing to file your federal income tax return is to determine the proper filing status to use. The tax filing status you choose helps to determine your filing requirements including:

There are Five Tax Filing Statuses:

  • Single Tax Filing (Individual)
  • Married Filing Separately
  • Married Filing Jointly
  • Head of Household
  • Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child

Determining What Tax Filing Status to Choose?

When it's time to prepare your tax return, you will need to choose the tax filing status that best fits your requirements based on marital status and dependants.

Within the 5 different tax filing status choices you will generally only qualify for 1 or 2 of them in any year you are preparing to file your tax return.

The IRS offers a great tool to help you determine your tax filing status. This tool is called the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant and by using the tax filing status tool you can determine in 5 minutes which filing status fits you.

You can also use IRS Publication 501 for additional information on exemptions, the standard deduction, and other tax filing information.

Here are some facts that the IRS wants you to know so that you will be able to choose the best tax filing status for your situation.

IRS Bona-Fide Tax Filing Status Tips

  • Single tax filing status generally applies to anyone who is unmarried, divorced or legally separated according to state law.
  • Your marital status on the last day of the tax year you are filing determines your marital status for the entire year.
  • If you qualify for more than one filing status, you should choose the one that provides you with the lowest income tax obligation.
  • A married couple may file jointly together, or separately.
  • If your spouse died during the year and you did not remarry, you may still be able to file a joint return the year the death occurred.
  • The Head of Household filing status generally applies to taxpayers who are unmarried. You must also have paid more than half the cost for maintaining the home you and your qualifying dependant lived in to qualify for this filing status.
  • You may also be eligible to file as a Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child filing status if you meet all the following conditions:
    • Your spouse died and you did not remarry before end of year
    • You were entitled to file a joint return with your spouse for the year your spouse died. It does not matter whether you actually filed a joint return
    • You have a qualifying dependent, including your child, or a stepchild for whom you can claim an exemption. This does not include foster children
      • This child must have lived in your home all year, except for temporary absences. There are exceptions for a child who was born or died during the year and for a kidnapped child
      • You must also have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year that you and the child lived in.