When can I use filing status for widow?
For two years after the year of your spouse’s death you can use the qualifying widower status if all of these are true:
- You were entitled to file a joint return with your spouse for the year your spouse died. It doesn’t matter whether you actually filed a joint return or not.
- You have a child or step child you can claim as a dependent. This doesn’t include foster children.
- You have not remarried.
- The child lived in your home all year. There are exceptions for temporary absences, birth, and death during the year.
- You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home for the year.
Qualifying widow(er) status entitles you to use both of these:
- Married filing jointly tax rates — However, you’re not entitled to file a joint return after the year of death.
- The highest standard deduction amount — Use this if you don’t itemize deductions.
If you are just getting your tax documents together and figuring out what to do next, here is a handy checklist to help you keep everything organized.
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