Filing Status 1 (Single)
Check this box if you are SINGLE or UNMARRIED and DO NOT qualify as HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD. (Read the instructions for BOX 3 to determine if you qualify for HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD.)
Filing Status 2 (Married Filing Joint)
Check this box if you were MARRIED and are filing jointly. IF YOU ARE FILING A JOINT RETURN, YOU MUST ADD BOTH SPOUSES' INCOME TOGETHER. Enter the total amount in column A on Lines 8 through 22 under Your/Joint Incomeö. If you are married, filing on the same form, and using different last names, separate the last names by using a slash.
John Q. and Mary M. Doe/Smith, or Mary M. and John Q. Smith/Doe
Be sure the placement of the last name matches placement of the first name. (You must be legally married to file in this manner.)
MARRIED COUPLES CHOOSING THE BEST FILING STATUS
If you and your spouse had separate incomes, you might save money by figuring your tax separately using one of the following two methods. Use the method that suits you best.
METHOD A. List your income separately under Column A (Your Income). List your spouse's income separately under Column B (Spouse's Income). Figure your tax separately and then add your taxes together. See instructions for Married Filing Separately on the Same Return, Box 4.
If you use Method A, your result will be either a COMBINED REFUND or a COMBINED TAX DUE.
METHOD B. File separate individual tax returns. See instructions for Married Filing Separately on Different Returns, Box 5.
If you use Method B, one of you may owe tax and the other may get a refund. The tax due must be paid with the proper tax return and the refund will be due on the other return. YOU MAY NOT OFFSET ONE AGAINST THE OTHER.
Filing Status 3 (Head of Household)
To file as Head of Household you must have been unmarried or legally separated on December 31, and meet either 1 or 2 below. The term Unmarried includes certain married persons who lived apart, as discussed at the end of this section.
1. You paid over half the cost of keeping a home for the entire year that was the main home of your parent whom you can claim as a dependent. Your parent did not have to live with you in your home.
2. You paid over half the cost of keeping a home in which you lived, and in which one of the following also lived, for more than six (6) months of the year (temporary absences, such as vacation or school, are counted as time lived in the home):
a. Your unmarried child, grandchild, great-grandchild, adopted child or stepchild. This child did not have to be your dependent, but your foster child must have been your dependent.
b. Your married child, grandchild, adopted child or stepchild. This child must have been your dependent.
c. Any other relative whom you could claim as a dependent.
MARRIED PERSONS WHO LIVED APART
Even if you were not divorced or legally separated in the year, you may be considered unmarried and file as Head of Household. See Internal Revenue Service instructions for Head of Household to determine if you qualify.
Filing Status 4 (Married Filing Separately on the Same Return)
Check this box if you were married and are filing SEPARATELY ON THE SAME TAX RETURN. This method of tax computation may reduce your tax liability if both spouses had income. The result will be either a combined refund or a combined tax due.
IF ONE SPOUSE HAD A TOTAL NEGATIVE INCOME, YOU MUST FILE MARRIED FILING JOINTLY.
Filing Status 5 (Married Filing Separately on Different Returns)
Check this box if you were married and are filing separate tax returns.
Filing Status 6 [Qualifying Widow(er)]
Check this box if you are a QUALIFYING WIDOW(ER).
You are eligible to file as a QUALIFYING WIDOW(ER) if your spouse died (in prior 2 years) and you meet all of the following requirements:
1. You were entitled to file a joint return with your spouse in the year he or she died. It does not matter whether you actually filed a joint return;
2. You did not remarry before the end of the current tax year;
3. You have a child, stepchild, adopted child, or foster child who qualified as your dependent for the year; and
4. You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home, which was the principal home of that child, for the whole year.
If your spouse died in the current tax year, you may still file a joint return. The year of death is the last year you will be allowed to file a joint return with your spouse. You may then file as qualifying widow or widower for the next two (2) years if you continue to meet all of the requirements.