Which federal income tax forms does a separated person need to file?
Filing your federal income tax forms when you’re separated from your spouse requires a little more decision making than usual. There are several options available to you. It all depends on your exact situation. However, you’re most likely going to use federal income tax forms 1040, 1040A, or tax forms 1040EZ.
Married Filing Jointly
Filing jointly on your federal income tax forms requires the consent of both spouses. If one spouse does not agree, you can not file jointly.
Depending on your situation, you’ll choose between the 1040, the 1040A, or the tax forms 1040EZ. If you’re itemizing your deductions, you must use the 1040. If you have basic taxes with no deductions, you could use the tax forms 1040EZ. Keep in mind if you make over $100,000 or are over 65 years old you can not use the tax forms 1040EZ.
Married Filing Separately
While filing jointly might bring more help on your taxes, you might not be able to. One spouse might not agree to file jointly or it’s just easier on both if you don’t. If that’s the case, you can file as married but filing separately. However, if you wish to file as head of household, you should file as single instead.
When filing separately, you’ll use federal income tax forms 1040 or 1040A. You can not use the tax forms 1040EZ if you want to file as married filing separately.
If you want to use the 1040A tax forms, you must qualify for it. There are a few restrictions on it. If you want to itemize deductions, you need to use the 1040. The 1040A also won’t let you claim most child care credits.
If you can claim the “head of household” or were divorced or legally separated on December 31st of last year, then you can file as single. You can only claim head of household if you can legally be considered unmarried.
The tax benefits are much lower than if you file as married. As you’re filing single, you can choose between the 1040, 1040A, and the tax forms 1040EZ. Which one you use depends on your situation.