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Publication 17
taxmap/pub17/p17-010.htm#en_us_publink1000170734

Chapter 2
Filing Status(p20)

For Use in Tax Year 2013

What's New(p20)


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Filing status for same-sex married couples.(p20)
If you have a same-sex spouse whom you legally married in a state (or foreign country) that recognizes same-sex marriage, you and your spouse generally must use the married filing jointly or married filing separately filing status on your 2013 return, even if you and your spouse now live in a state (or foreign country) that does not recognize same-sex marriage. See Same-sex marriage under Marital Status, later.
taxmap/pub17/p17-010.htm#en_us_publink1000270843
This chapter helps you determine which filing status to use. There are five filing statuses.
Deposit
If more than one filing status applies to you, choose the one that will give you the lowest tax.
You must determine your filing status before you can determine whether you must file a tax return (chapter 1), your standard deduction (chapter 20), and your tax (chapter 30). You also use your filing status to determine whether you are eligible to claim certain deductions and credits.

taxmap/pub17/p17-010.htm#TXMP7a8f1962

Useful items

You may want to see:


Publication
 501 Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information
 519 U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens
 555 Community Property
taxmap/pub17/p17-010.htm#en_us_publink1000170736

Marital Status(p20)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
In general, your filing status depends on whether you are considered unmarried or married.
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Unmarried persons.(p20)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
You are considered unmarried for the whole year if, on the last day of your tax year, you are unmarried or legally separated from your spouse under a divorce or separate maintenance decree. State law governs whether you are married or legally separated under a divorce or separate maintenance decree.
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Divorced persons.(p20)
If you are divorced under a final decree by the last day of the year, you are considered unmarried for the whole year.
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Divorce and remarriage.(p20)
If you obtain a divorce for the sole purpose of filing tax returns as unmarried individuals, and at the time of divorce you intend to and do, in fact, remarry each other in the next tax year, you and your spouse must file as married individuals in both years.
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Annulled marriages.(p20)
If you obtain a court decree of annulment, which holds that no valid marriage ever existed, you are considered unmarried even if you filed joint returns for earlier years. You must file Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, claiming single or head of household status for all tax years that are affected by the annulment and are not closed by the statute of limitations for filing a tax return. Generally, for a credit or refund, you must file Form 1040X within 3 years (including extensions) after the date you filed your original return or within 2 years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. If you filed your original return early (for example, March 1), your return is considered filed on the due date (generally April 15). However, if you had an extension to file (for example, until October 15) but you filed earlier and we received it on July 1, your return is considered filed on July 1.
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Head of household or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child.(p20)
If you are considered unmarried, you may be able to file as a head of household or as a qualifying widow(er) with a dependent child. See Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child to see if you qualify.
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Married persons.(p20)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
If you are considered married, you and your spouse can file a joint return or separate returns.
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Considered married.(p20)
You are considered married for the whole year if, on the last day of your tax year, you and your spouse meet any one of the following tests.
  1. You are married and living together as a married couple.
  2. You are living together in a common law marriage recognized in the state where you now live or in the state where the common law marriage began.
  3. You are married and living apart, but not legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance.
  4. You are separated under an interlocutory (not final) decree of divorce.
taxmap/pub17/p17-010.htm#TXMR26963d96
Same-sex marriage.(p20)
For federal tax purposes, individuals of the same sex are considered married if they were lawfully married in a state (or foreign country) whose laws authorize the marriage of two individuals of the same sex, even if the state (or foreign country) in which they now live does not recognize same-sex marriage. The term “spouse” includes an individual married to a person of the same sex if the couple is lawfully married under state (or foreign) law. However, individuals who have entered into a registered domestic partnership, civil union, or other similar relationship that is not considered a marriage under state (or foreign) law are not considered married for federal tax purposes. For more details, see Publication 501.
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Spouse died during the year.(p20)
If your spouse died during the year, you are considered married for the whole year for filing status purposes.
If you did not remarry before the end of the tax year, you can file a joint return for yourself and your deceased spouse. For the next 2 years, you may be entitled to the special benefits described later under Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child.
If you remarried before the end of the tax year, you can file a joint return with your new spouse. Your deceased spouse's filing status is married filing separately for that year.
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Married persons living apart.(p21)
If you live apart from your spouse and meet certain tests, you may be able to file as head of household even if you are not divorced or legally separated. If you qualify to file as head of household instead of married filing separately, your standard deduction will be higher. Also, your tax may be lower, and you may be able to claim the earned income credit. See Head of Household, later.