What does Filing Status mean?
Filing status refers to the status an individual uses when filing a federal or state income tax return. The Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities use the filing status to determine the taxpayer's filing requirements, standard deduction, eligibility for certain exemptions and tax credits, and actual tax liability, if any.
The Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities use five filing status options: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household, and Qualifying Widow or Widower with Dependent Child. A taxpayer may qualify for more than one of the filing status options in a given tax year. The main factor in determining which of the filing status options a given taxpayer qualifies for is the taxpayer's marital status on the last day of the tax year, which is typically December 31.
When a taxpayer qualifies for more than one filing status, the taxpayer has the option to choose the filing status that provides the lowest tax liability.