You may choose this status and use joint return tax rates for the tax year if all five of the following apply:
- Your spouse died in one of the previous 2 tax years and you did not remarry before the end of of the tax year.
- You have a child or stepchild whom you claim as a dependent. This does not include a foster child.
- This child lived in your home for all of the year. If the child did not live with you for the required time, see Exception to time lived with you on this page.
- You paid over half the cost of keeping up your home.
- You could have filed a joint return with your spouse the year he or she died, even if you did not actually do so.
If your spouse died in this tax year, you cannot file as a qualifying widow(er) with dependent child. Instead see the instructions for Married Filing Joint.