One of the first and most important determinations you will make as you begin to prepare a tax return is the taxpayer's filing status.
Filing status affects many areas of the tax return, such as whether the taxpayer is eligible for certain tax benefits, the amount of the standard deduction, the tax table and rates used to determine tax liability, and other tax rules. Filing status also affects the version of Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, that can be filed, as noted in Chapter 1. You must be consistent and use the same filing status for all purposes on a return.
Filing status may sound simple, and in most cases you will be able to easily select the correct filing status. However, in some cases, a taxpayer may qualify for more than one filing status, and you may need to determine which is the most advantageous status for the taxpayer. Also, be aware that filing status is one of the most misunderstood areas of the tax law, and many errors are caused when taxpayers claim a status they do not qualify to use.
Five Filing Statuses
Taxpayers may use only one of five filing statuses shown in Figure 2.1.
On Form 1040, and Form 1040A, select filing status by checking the appropriate box on the tax return after determining the filing status for which the taxpayer qualifies.
Form 1040EZ, Income Tax Return for Single ...