What filing status do I use for my personal extension?

Modified on Sun, 21 Jan at 8:08 PM

 For U.S. citizens and residents filing their federal income taxes, there are five filing statuses to choose from. Your filing status determines your tax rates, deductions, and eligibility for certain tax credits. The five filing statuses are:

  1. Single: This status is for individuals who are not married, legally separated, or widowed as of the last day of the tax year (December 31). Single filers typically have fewer tax advantages compared to those with a different filing status.
  2. Married Filing Jointly: This status is for couples who are married and want to file a joint tax return. It often offers the most favorable tax rates and deductions for couples, as their income is combined.
  3. Married Filing Separately: In this status, married individuals choose to file separate tax returns. While this can be advantageous in certain situations, it may result in higher tax rates and fewer deductions and credits compared to filing jointly.
  4. Head of Household: This status is for unmarried individuals who provide a home for a qualifying dependent, such as a child or relative. Head of Household status generally offers more favorable tax rates and deductions than the Single or Married Filing Separately statuses.
  5. Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child: If your spouse died in one of the previous two tax years, and you have a dependent child, you may be eligible for this status. It allows you to use the Married Filing Jointly tax rates and deductions for two years following the year of your spouse's death, provided you meet certain criteria.


Choosing the correct filing status is essential because it can significantly affect your tax liability and potential refunds or obligations. It's important to evaluate your personal and family circumstances to determine the most advantageous filing status for your situation. If you are unsure which filing status to use, you can consult with a tax professional or use tax software to help you make the best choice.


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