Can I use the Qualifying Surviving Spouse filing status?

Modified on Wed, 24 Jan 2024 at 12:04 PM

What is the Qualifying Surviving Spouse status?

Qualifying Surviving Spouse status is for qualifying taxpayers whose spouses have deceased. The status can be used for 2 years.

If your spouse died in the previous year, you’re able to file married filing jointly for that year. However, in the following years, you may be eligible for the Qualifying Surviving Spouse status for the following 2 years. 

 

How do I know if I can use the status?

You can use the status if all the following are true:

  • You were entitled to file married filing jointly in the year your spouse died. 

  • You didn’t remarry after your spouse died and was still unmarried at the end of the tax year.

  • You have a child or stepchild you’re able to claim on your tax return.

  • You have a child or stepchild that you would be able to claim if not for

    • They made more than $4,300 for the year

    • They filed a joining tax return

    • You could be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return

  • The child has lived in your home all year aside from temporary absences. 

  • You paid for more than half of your household costs for the year.  

What if my child died during the tax year?

If the child who qualifies you for the Qualifying Surviving Spouse status has died, you may be able to still claim the status as long as you provided for more than half of the household expenses for the year.

 

What if I adopted my child during the tax year?

If you adopted the child who qualifies you for the Qualifying Surviving Spouse status, you may be able to still claim the status if the child lived with you and you provided more than half of the household expenses for the year.

 

This content is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as tax, legal, financial, accounting, or other advice. Rules and regulations vary by location and are subject to change, so please consult with an expert if you need advice specific to you.

 

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