Single Filing Status Definition: Who Should File as Single

If you don’t qualify for any other filing status you should file as single

Your filing status is one of the first things you enter on your tax return, but it’s also one of the most important. That’s because it has a huge influence on the rest of your return. It determines whether you have to file, what rates you get taxed at, your standard deduction, and eligibility for certain credits and deductions.

There are five different filing statuses:

  • Single
  • Married Filing Jointly
  • Married Filing Separately
  • Head of Household
  • Qualifying Widow(er)

Definition of single

According to the IRS definition:

Your filing status is single if, you are considered unmarried, and you do not qualify for another filing status.

What this means is that the first thing you should do is briefly check the definitions for the other filing statuses. If you don’t qualify for them, you must file as Single.

You should file as Single if you were unmarried (or ‘considered unmarried’) on the last day of the year. It doesn’t matter what your marital status was prior to December 31st. For example, even if you were married all year but got divorced or legally separated on December 31st, you should file as Single on your tax return for that year.

The IRS usually follows state law when it comes to who it considers married. It does not consider registered domestic partners or persons in a civil union (whether of the opposite or same sex) as married. These individuals must either file as Single or Head of Household.

Single 2014 Tax Brackets

A Single filing status determines the levels of income at which you need to file a tax return. If you are single and your taxable income is $9,075 or under, you’ll fall into the lowest tax bracket, 10%. For single filers earning over $9,075, tax brackets are as follows;

  • $9,076 – $36,900: 15% Tax Bracket
  • $36,901 – $89,350: 25%
  • $89,351 – $186,350: 28%
  • $186,351 – $401,100: 33%
  • $405,101 – $406,750: 35%
  • $406,751 and above: 39.6%

Who is Considered Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er)?

There are two other filing statuses for unmarried people: Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er).

If you are single and you can claim a dependent, you should check to see if you qualify as Head of Household, which provides more tax benefits than just filing as single. Head of Household allows you to claim a higher standard deduction and also means you are taxed at lower tax rates. Note, however, that just because you have a dependent does not automatically mean that you will qualify as a Head of Household.

The Qualifying Widow(er) filing status is available to unmarried individuals for two years after the death of their spouse so long as they have a dependent child. This entitles you to joint tax return rates and a higher standard deduction.

Now that you know what filing status to choose, you can get started on your tax return right here on RapidTax. Our easy tax application will guide you through the entire process.

Photo via Barta IV on Flickr.

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