What conditions need to apply to file as a qualifying widow(er) with dependent child filing status?


The Qualifying Widow(er) filing status applies to taxpayers two years after their Spouse passed. The surviving Spouse must meet all requirements in order to file this filing status.

If your Spouse was deceased at the end of the tax year, you cannot file as a qualifying widower with a dependent child as yet. The IRS considers you married for the entire year. After two years your Spouse was deceased, the taxpayer can file using the Widow(er) filing status. This means the following:

  1. You must file a tax return with the married filing jointly filing status.
  2. You cannot remarry in the year of your Spouse’s passing. If you remarry before the year end, then you cannot file married filing jointly with your deceased Spouse. Their appointed legal representative must file married filing separately on their behalf. However, you can file married filing jointly with your new Spouse. Read how to file taxes for a deceased person here. 
  3. You must be unmarried and file married filing jointly for the next two years. You must be eligible to file a joint return with your spouse the year he or she passed, even if he or she did not file. Indicate the deceased Spouse on your return. 
  4. Claim a qualifying dependent if you have a child, adopted child, stepchild, or foster child. A foster child does not qualify as a qualifying dependent for the Widower filing status. The qualifying child must have lived in your home all year. You must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home. 
  5. The Widow(er) filing status and Married Filing Jointly filing status’ tax rates are the same.

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