Single

A taxpayer is unmarried if:

  • The taxpayer has never married,
  • The taxpayer was legally separated, according to state law, under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance.
  • The taxpayer’s spouse died before January 1, of the filing year, and the taxpayer did not remarry in the filing year.

If the taxpayer meets the definition of unmarried, file as Single unless the requirements for one of the following filing statuses are met.

  • Head of Household, or
  • Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child.

Married Filing Joint (MFJ)

A taxpayer can file a joint return with a spouse if:

  • The taxpayer was married at the end of the filing year, even if the taxpayer did not live with the spouse at the end of the filing year.
  •  The taxpayer’s spouse died in in the filing year, and the taxpayer did not remarry in the filing year.
  • The taxpayer was married at the end of the filing year, and the spouse died before filing a return.
  • The taxpayer lived with a person in a common-law marriage recognized in the state where they live or in the state where the common-law marriage began.

A taxpayer can file MFJ if both spouses agree, otherwise a married taxpayer may file:

  • Married Filing Separately (MFS), or
  • Head of Household (HOH) if the taxpayer meets the requirements to be “Considered Unmarried.” See Head of Household, later.