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How to Decide Which Tax Filing Status to Use

Audio version available here:

Length: approx. 1 min. 45 sec.

As we get closer to the April 15th, 2024 deadline to pay and file your 1040 tax return, we are here to clarify some tax filing basics. Do you know the difference between a single filer and a head of household? This distinction has a significant impact on your tax obligation. Today we’ll explain all about tax filing statuses.

There are five different statuses a taxpayer can select on their 1040 tax return. Single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, and qualifying surviving spouse. It is important to know which one you qualify for because it can drastically affect your standard deduction, which nearly 87% of taxpayers use to offset their taxable income.

Single filers are not married or are divorced or legally separated and have no dependents. Their standard deduction is $13,850. If you are married but do not wish to file your taxes in conjunction with your spouse, then your status will be married filing separately. In this instance, the standard deduction is the same as single filers at $13,850.

If you do wish to file jointly with your spouse, your shared standard deduction is $27,700. If your spouse passed away during the year, then you may continue to use the married filing jointly deduction. If it has been within two years of your spouse passing away and you have a dependent child, then you may also claim a standard deduction of $27,700.

Heads of households have similar qualifications as single filers, but you must also pay “more than half of your living expenses for yourself and a qualifying dependent.” The resulting standard deduction is $20,800.

If you are still a bit confused, you can use the IRS “What’s my filing status?” tool to help you understand which status you should use for 2023. For further assistance in preparing and filing your 2023 tax return, the XQ CPA team is here to help. Feel free to reach out to us by phone or online. We would love to assist you.

Phone: 832-295-3353

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Close up of $100 bills with stamp saying "taxes due 4/15"


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