|Question: My spouse passed away this year. When I file my taxes, what filing status should I claim?|
As the surviving spouse, you have several filing choices that may be appropriate. You may be able to choose married filing jointly, married filing separately, qualifying widow(er), or head of household.
Regardless of whether you file a joint return or a separate return for your spouse, you must write "DECEASED" across the top of the return, along with your spouse's name and date of death.
If you file a joint return and no personal representative has been appointed, write your (and your spouse's) name, address, and Social Security number in the regular name/address space at the top of the return. To sign the return, write "Filing as Surviving Spouse" in the space for your spouse's signature, then sign in the space for your own signature. If you are not filing a joint return, write your spouse's name at the top of the return and the personal representative's name and address in the remaining space. If a personal representative has been appointed, he or she must sign the return. Again, you must also sign if it is a joint return.
For additional details, consult a tax professional.