Determining your filing status is one of the first steps to filing your federal income tax return. There are five filing statuses: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child. Your filing status is used to determine your filing requirements, standard deduction, eligibility for certain credits and deductions, and your correct tax.

Some people may qualify for more than one filing status. Here are eight facts about filing status that the IRS wants you to know so you can choose the best option for your situation.

  1. Your marital status on the last day of the year determines your marital status for the entire year.
  2. If more than one filing status applies to you, choose the one that gives you the lowest tax obligation.
  3. Single filing status generally applies to anyone who is unmarried, divorced or legally separated according to state law.
  4. A married couple may file a joint return together. The couple's filing status would be Married Filing Jointly.
  5. If your spouse died during the year and you did not remarry during 2011, usually you may still file a joint return with that spouse for the year of death.
  6. A married couple may elect to file their returns separately. Each person's filing status would generally be Married Filing Separately.
  7. Head of Household generally applies to taxpayers who are unmarried. You must also have paid more than half the cost of maintaining a home for you and a qualifying person to qualify for this filing status.
  8. You may be able to choose Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child as your filing status if your spouse died during 2009 or 2010, you have a dependent child, have not remarried and you meet certain other conditions.

There's much more information about determining your filing status in IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information. Publication 501 is available at www.irs.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). You can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant on the IRS website to determine your filing status. The ITA tool is a tax law resource on the IRS website that takes you through a series of questions and provides you with responses to tax law questions.

Are you married and unsure about whether to file separately or jointly? The Joint vs. Separate Report in TaxACT Deluxe shows you which filing status provides the biggest tax savings. The Joint vs. Separate Report is just one of many advanced features & reports in TaxACT Deluxe. Try TaxACT Online Deluxe with Joint vs. Separate Report risk-free now and pay $9.95 when you're ready to print or e-file.

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Upcoming Tax Dates

May 11 Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during April, report them to your employer - Details

May 11 Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
File Form 941 for the first quarter of 2015. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the quarter timely, properly, and in full.

May 12 Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the first 15 days of April.

May 14 Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the last 15 days of April.

May 15 Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in April.

May 15 Nonpayroll withholding
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in April.

May 28 Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the last 15 days of April.

May 29 Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the first 15 days of May.

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