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IRS.gov Website
Instructions for Form 1040
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e2948

Filing Status(p13)

rule
Check only the filing status that applies to you. The ones that will usually give you the lowest tax are listed last.For information about marital status, see Pub. 501.
taxtip
More than one filing status can apply to you. You can choose the one that will give you the lowest tax.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e2984

Line 1(p14)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e2989

Single(p14)

rule
You can check the box on line 1 if any of the following was true on December 31, 2015.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3022

Line 2(p14)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3027

Married Filing Jointly(p14)

rule
You can check the box on line 2 if any of the following apply.
A married couple filing jointly report their combined income and deduct their combined allowable expenses on one return. They can file a joint return even if only one had income or if they didn't live together all year. However, both persons must sign the return. Once you file a joint return, you can't choose to file separate returns for that year after the due date of the return.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3070
Joint and several tax liability.(p14)
rule
If you file a joint return, both you and your spouse are generally responsible for the tax and interest or penalties due on the return. This means that if one spouse doesn't pay the tax due, the other may have to. Or, if one spouse doesn't report the correct tax, both spouses may be responsible for any additional taxes assessed by the IRS. You may want to file separately if: See the instructions for line 3. Also see Innocent Spouse Relief under General Information, later.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3098
Nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens.(p14)
rule
Generally, a married couple can't file a joint return if either spouse is a nonresident alien at any time during the year. However, if you were a nonresident alien or a dual-status alien and were married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the end of 2015, you can elect to be treated as a resident alien and file a joint return. See Pub. 519 for details.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3121

Line 3(p14)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3126

Married Filing Separately(p14)

rule
If you are married and file a separate return, you generally report only your own income, exemptions, deductions, and credits. Generally, you are responsible only for the tax on your own income. Different rules apply to people in community property states; see Pub. 555.
However, you will usually pay more tax than if you use another filing status for which you qualify. Also, if you file a separate return, you can't take the student loan interest deduction, the tuition and fees deduction, the education credits, or the earned income credit. You also can't take the standard deduction if your spouse itemizes deductions.
Be sure to enter your spouse's SSN or ITIN on Form 1040. If your spouse doesn't have and isn't required to have an SSN or ITIN, enter NRA.
taxtip
You may be able to file as head of household if you had a child living with you and you lived apart from your spouse during the last 6 months of 2015. See Married persons who live apart.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3165

Line 4(p14)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3170

Head of Household(p14)

rule
This filing status is for unmarried individuals who provide a home for certain other persons. You are considered unmarried for this purpose if any of the following applies.Check the box on line 4 only if you are unmarried (or considered unmarried) and either Test 1 or Test 2 applies.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3208
Test 1.(p14)
rule
You paid over half the cost of keeping up a home that was the main home for all of 2015 of your parent whom you can claim as a dependent on line 6c, except under a multiple support agreement (see the line 6c instructions). Your parent didn't have to live with you.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3217
Test 2.(p14)
rule
You paid over half the cost of keeping up a home in which you lived and in which one of the following also lived for more than half of the year (if half or less, see Exception to time lived with you).
  1. Any person whom you can claim as a dependent on line 6c. But do not include:
    1. Your child whom you claim as your dependent because of the rule for Children of divorced or separated parents in the line 6c instructions,
    2. Any person who is your dependent only because he or she lived with you for all of 2015, or
    3. Any person you claimed as a dependent under a multiple support agreement. See the line 6c instructions.
  2. Your unmarried qualifying child who isn't your dependent.
  3. Your married qualifying child who isn't your dependent only because you can be claimed as a dependent on line 6c of someone else's 2015 return.
  4. Your qualifying child who, even though you are the custodial parent, isn't your dependent because of the rule for Children of divorced or separated parents in the line 6c instructions.
    If the child isn't claimed as your dependent on line 6c, enter the child's name on line 4. If you do not enter the name, it will take us longer to process your return.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3276
Qualifying child.(p15)
rule
To find out if someone is your qualifying child, see Step 1 of the line 6c instructions.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3284
Dependent.(p15)
rule
To find out if someone is your dependent, see the instructions for line 6c.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3292
Exception to time lived with you.(p15)
rule
Temporary absences by you or the other person for special circumstances, such as school, vacation, business, medical care, military service, or detention in a juvenile facility, count as time lived in the home. Also see Kidnapped child in the line 6c instructions, if applicable.
If the person for whom you kept up a home was born or died in 2015, you still may be able to file as head of household. If the person is your qualifying child, the child must have lived with you for more than half the part of the year he or she was alive. If the person is anyone else, see Pub. 501.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3307
Keeping up a home.(p15)
rule
To find out what is included in the cost of keeping up a home, see Pub. 501.
If you used payments you received under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or other public assistance programs to pay part of the cost of keeping up your home, you can't count them as money you paid. However, you must include them in the total cost of keeping up your home to figure if you paid over half the cost.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3318
Married persons who live apart.(p15)
rule
Even if you were not divorced or legally separated at the end of 2015, you are considered unmarried if all of the following apply.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3370
Adopted child.(p15)
An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3379
Foster child.(p15)
A foster child is any child placed with you by an authorized placement agency or by judgment, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3391

Line 5(p15)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3396

Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child(p15)

rule
You can check the box on line 5 and use joint return tax rates for 2015 if all of the following apply.
  1. Your spouse died in 2013 or 2014 and you didn't remarry before the end of 2015.
  2. You have a child or stepchild you can claim as a dependent on line 6c. This doesn't include a foster child.
  3. This child lived in your home for all of 2015. If the child didn't live with you for the required time, see Exception to time lived with you, later.
  4. You paid over half the cost of keeping up your home.
  5. You could have filed a joint return with your spouse the year he or she died, even if you didn't actually do so.
If your spouse died in 2015, you can't file as qualifying widow(er) with dependent child. Instead, see the instructions for line 2.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3445
Adopted child.(p15)
rule
An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3455
Dependent.(p15)
rule
To find out if someone is your dependent, see the instructions for line 6c.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3463
Exception to time lived with you.(p15)
rule
Temporary absences by you or the child for special circumstances, such as school, vacation, business, medical care, military service, or detention in a juvenile facility, count as time lived in the home. Also see Kidnapped child in the line 6c instructions, if applicable.
A child is considered to have lived with you for all of 2015 if the child was born or died in 2015 and your home was the child's home for the entire time he or she was alive.
taxmap/instr/i1040gi-006.htm#en_us_publink24811vd0e3478
Keeping up a home.(p15)
rule
To find out what is included in the cost of keeping up a home, see Pub. 501.
If you used payments you received under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or other public assistance programs to pay part of the cost of keeping up your home, you can't count them as money you paid. However, you must include them in the total cost of keeping up your home to figure if you paid over half the cost.