Updated: Monday, 18 Mar 2013, 10:21 AM MDT
Published : Monday, 18 Mar 2013, 10:21 AM MDT
Selecting the right filing status.
That's next on Tax Break.
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Your filing status determines how you calculate your tax liability, some of your tax benefits and even the amount of your standard deduction. It might even determine whether you need to file a tax return.
Your marital status is determined as of the last day of the year. Chances are you fall into one of three categories. You are Single, Married, or Head of Household.
For married couples, Married Filing Jointly usually results in the lowest tax burden, and can generally be used even if your spouse died during the year. Some couples are required or find it beneficial to file as married, filing separately.
If your spouse died during 2010 or 2011 and you have a dependent child, you might claim Qualifying Widow or Widower with Dependent Child.
The Head of Household status is probably the one most often claimed in error. It generally applies if you're not married and pay more than half the cost of maintaining a home for yourself and a qualifying person.