How to Decide Your Filing Status

Alden Wicker

If there is one thing to make sure you get right on your taxes, it’s your filing status. It can determine how much you pay (or save) in taxes. Plus, it’s one of the things that, if you get it wrong, will definitely land you in a dreaded audit.

(Find out what else will get you audited.)

Your filing status basically expresses how you wish to be treated by the IRS, and can determine which deductions and credits you are allowed to take, which forms you should fill out and more.

We don’t want you to stay up at night fretting over this issue, so we’ve compiled everything you need to know into a handy flow chart. Once you find out your filing status, you can read more about it below.

Two notes before you get started:

  • In the interest of keeping the chart simple and easy-to-use, this does not account for people who are not United States citizens. (If you are a resident alien, you might find this useful.)
  • Also, the IRS does not recognize same-sex marriages, even if they are legal under state law, so if you are in a same-sex marriage, you should file as a single on your federal return.


filing status flowchart

  • Jazmyn

    for some reason me and my boyfriend filed married last year and we have never been married. This year I wasn’t planning on filing and he still is but they want us to file jointly again or keep saying if he files without me he won’t get all the benefits, I dont understand why he cant ge teh benefits if I don’t file with him. He is claiming his neice and nephews that he helps take care of after his sister passed. Does anybody have any advice?

  • JD Straw

    I wish the IRS thugs could be made to stop terrorizing American and could be put totally out of business. They are the most unconstrained thugs, terrorists, murderers, dream stealers, and the worst nightmare ever, the very  worst, the most lawless, the most uncontrolled AND uncontrollable group of demons of all times.