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.

Related Topics

Related Resources

Preparing Your Tax Document Checklist

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.

Dependents and IRS Audits

Does claiming multiple dependents increase your chances for an IRS audit? Learn how dependents affect your tax return.

Do I Get Credit for Taxes I Paid to Another State?

Find out if you’re eligible for a resident credit after paying taxes to another state with the experts at H&R Block.

Minimum Essential Coverage

Learn about Minimum Essential Coverage for income tax tips from our tax articles at H&R Block.