Use this filing status if any of the following was true on December 31, 2009.
- You never were married.
- You were legally separated, according to your state law, under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance.
- You were widowed before January 1, 2009, and did not remarry in 2009.
Use this filing status if any of the following apply.
- You were married at the end of 2009, even if you did not live with your spouse at the end of 2009.
- Your spouse died in 2009 and you did not remarry in 2009.
- You were married at the end of 2009, and your spouse died in 2010 before filing a 2009 return.
For federal tax purposes, a marriage means only a legal union between a man and a woman as husband and wife. A husband and wife filing jointly report their combined income and de duct their combined allowable expenses on one return. A husband and wife can file a joint return even if only one had income or if they did not live together all year. However, both persons must sign the return. Once you file a joint return, you cannot choose to file separate returns for that year after the due date of the return.taxmap/instr/i1040ez-011.htm#TXMP73b326c0
If you file a joint return, both you and your spouse are generally responsible for the tax and any interest or penalties due on the return. This means that if one spouse does not pay the tax due, the other may have to. However, see Innocent spouse relief on page 22.