Question

When can I use filing status for widow?

Answer

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.

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