Your Tax Filing Status

On your federal income tax return, you are asked to choose a filing status. For some taxpayers, the choice is clear. But if your marital status changed recently or more than one filing status applies to you, your choice may not be so clear cut. Here are a few things to know about the five filing statuses. Please consult with us for specific advice.

Your marital status on the last day of the tax year (generally December 31) determines your marital status for the whole year. For example:

5 Federal Filing Statuses


This filing status is used by unmarried individuals. You may be eligible to use a different filing status if you have a dependent.

Married Filing Jointly

This filing status usually results in lower taxes for married couples than married filing separately.

Married Filing Separately

This filing status may be a good choice is you only want responsibility for your own tax or if it results in a lower tax than filing jointly. With this filing status, you cannot claim certain tax credits that are generally available to couples who file jointly.

Head Of Household

You may be able to lower your taxes by claiming this filing status if you are unmarried or lived apart from your spouse for the last six months of the year, pay more than half the cost of keeping your home, and have a qualifying person, such as your dependent child who lived with you for more than half the year.

Qualifying Window(er)

The year your spouse dies is the last year you can file jointly. However, you may be able to use this filing status for the following two years if you have a child you can claim as a dependent. This filing status offers the same tax rates and high standard deduction as married filing jointly.

Please talk to us for more specific advice about your personal situation when it comes to your filing status. With offices in Rutland and Williston, Vermont Copper Leaf Financial develops a customized wealth management plan designed to integrate every aspect of your financial life. Our approach is to provide clarity and calm amidst the chaos. Where there is uncertainty we look for facts. We call our approach evidence-based investing. Call us today at 877-974-5341 to schedule a strategy session and begin building your road map to financial success.

Article published in January 2021 edition of Eye on Money. If you would like to be added to our mail list please email