Did you know the IRS allows a tax break for those taxpayers whose spouse has died in the last tax year? These taxpayers can file using qualifying widow(er) with qualifying child filing status. If you have lost your spouse this past tax year, here are some things you’ll need to know about this special filing status.
When Your Spouse Dies
You are able to file a joint return with your spouse in the year that your spouse has passed away. To do so, you must not have remarried and the executor of the estate have to approve your joint return. You aren’t able to file a joint return it either you or your spouse was a nonresident alien during the tax year.
When you file jointly, you can include all of your income and deductions for the entire year, but your spouses is only relevant until the date of death. You may be responsible for any back taxes that your spouse owes if the estate cannot afford them.
Two Years After Death
You can use the qualifying widow(er) filing status for two years after the death of your spouse. Filing this way will grant you a higher standard deduction as well as a lower tax rate than if you filed using the single status. However, in order to use the status you must meet certain criteria:
- You are not remarried
- You have a child who lived which you throughout the tax year and you have paid half of the up keep expenses for your residence
- You qualify to file jointly the year your spouse who died regardless of whether you did or not