The tax rates for a Qualifying Surviving Spouse are the same as for couples filing a joint return and are lower than the tax rates for a Head of Household. So if you are eligible to use the Qualifying Surviving Spouse status, you should do so. However, you should ensure that you actually qualify to use this status, which is generally only available if you have qualifying children, and then only for the two tax years AFTER the death of your spouse. In the tax year of the death of your spouse, you can still file a married filing jointly return. Use the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant to determine the best filing status for which you qualify.
Articles in this section
- What is one's filing status when a spouse dies during the year? Does one need to attach the death certificate to the tax return?
- If I'm married, must I file as married?
- Can I file as single even though my divorce is not final? I did not live with my spouse at all this year.
- Am I better off filing as head of household or as a Qualifying Surviving Spouse?
- Now that my wife and I live apart, should we file a joint return or separate ones and both claim head of household? We have no children.
- If unmarried parents are living together with their child for the entire year, and both parents are contributing to the cost of maintaining the household for the child and themselves, may they both file as head of household?