We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Filing Status?

H. Bliss
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

When filing a United States income tax return, a taxpayer must choose a filing status. This decision plays a dominant role in calculating that person's taxable income and determining his tax liability. A person's filing status depends largely upon whether he is married and is based on his status on the last day of tax year. Filing statuses for federal income tax include single, married filing separately, married filing jointly, widow with qualifying dependent children, and head of household. Divorced taxpayers usually file as single.

Married couples can choose from multiple married filing statuses to find the most attractive and least tax-liable filing option. Using the "married filing jointly" and "married filing separately" filing status options, married couples can decide whether it benefits them most to file their income tax together or separately. The separate filing option is sometimes used by married couples who have separated but remain married.

Status is a big part of income tax calculation, but other factors can play a part in determining tax liability. Along with income and a taxpayer's number of dependents, the filing status helps determine the taxpayer's tax bracket, which dictates the taxes he will pay. Although the filing status is based on a taxpayer's status on the last day of the tax year, if the taxpayer is widowed during the year, the surviving spouse can usually still elect to file as married for that year.

Careful determination of the correct tax filing status is important in ensuring that owed taxes are calculated correctly. Misrepresenting a filing status to lower tax rates can result in late tax payments, tax penalties and fees, and accidentally choosing the wrong status can mean unnecessarily elevated taxes. Each taxpayer can have only one filing status. When more than one of the filing statuses is applicable to the taxpayer, he should choose the filing option with lower tax liability.

Income tax is a yearly payment that the government charges its citizens. In the United States, income tax is collected at both the federal and state level, except in states with no income tax. Taxpayers are required to withhold their owed taxes from the income they make during the year, but most employers automatically withhold taxes for employees. Excess taxes paid are given back to the taxpayer when he files yearly tax returns.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
H. Bliss
By H. Bliss
Heather Bliss, a passionate writer with a background in communication, brings her love for connecting with others to her work. With a relevant degree, she crafts compelling content that informs and inspires, showcasing her unique perspective and her commitment to making a difference.
Discussion Comments
H. Bliss
H. Bliss
Heather Bliss, a passionate writer with a background in communication, brings her love for connecting with others to her...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.