Posted by Pat Raskob

Single Filing Status: Rules for Filing Your Taxes

Single Filing Status: Rules for Filing Your Taxes

People that are not married and do not qualify for other filing status have the single filing status as their default tax status. 

Your filing status affects many things like the standard deduction amount alongside the tax rate you can use when estimating your federal income tax. There are five filing statuses, and the single status is one of them. 

This article describes how to choose the correct filing status depending on various circumstances.


When you are not married 

Uncle Sam determines your marital status by the final day of the tax year – typically Dec 31. If Uncle Sam considers you unmarried then, you will claim the single status. This status includes:

  • People that are not married

  • People that are legally separated by Dec 31

  • Those who are away from their partner because of a legal court order as of Dec 31.

Uncle Sam does not consider you unmarried if you are legally separated from your spouse, and you had to move into different houses under a court order. 


When you are married

Standard deductions and tax brackets for married taxpayers like same-sex married couples are not the same for single filers. The rate increases to 37% since two people are filing using the same tax return. 

Married couples that file separately will file using the single tax rate and will use their standard deduction. They, however, will not be able to enjoy some deductions or tax credits since they are not filing jointly. 

People considered married cannot file under the single status, even if you are not living with your spouse. This, however, might qualify one for the head of the household status. 


Civil Unions and Registered Domestic Partners

There are some recognized partnerships that are not considered a marriage. These are:

  • Civil unions

  • Registered domestic partnerships

  • Any other formal relationships recognized where you live. 

Anyone in any of the relationships above is considered single and must file as single if the head of household status is not possible. 

Domestic partners and people in civil unions need to file state returns like they are married for some states. Domestic partners and people in civil unions that stay in community property state might need to allocate income and deductions between the spouses. 

People in civil unions or domestic relationships at the federal level need to file their federal tax return with either the single or head of household status. 


Single Filers Tax Rate 

The table here shows the tax rate for single filers in 2020 even though it also applies to the 2021 tax return.  

2020 Tax Rate for Single Filers 

Tax Rate

Income Above 

Income Up to 

10%

$0

$9.875

12%

$9.875

$40,125

22%

$40,125

$85,525

24%

$85,525

$163,300

32%

$163,300

$207.350

35%

$207.350

$518,400

37%

$518,400

Any higher value

This is the rate at the income taxed (to the upper value), and the balance will move to the percentage that follows.

For instance, if you earn $40,200; this is how your tax will go:

  • The first $40,125 will be taxed at 12%

  • The remaining $75 will be taxed at 22%

In the same way, for someone earning $80,000

  • First of all, $9875 will be taxed at 10%

  • The next balance up to $40,125 will also be taxed at 12%

  • Whatever is left above $40, 125 will also be taxed at 22%

A single filer will enjoy a standard deduction of $12,400 in 2020, a $200 increase from previous years' value.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO HAVE PAT RASKOB HELP YOU WITH YOUR TAX FILING NEEDS, PLEASE CLICK THE BLUE TAB ON THIS PAGE.

 

THANKS FOR VISITING.

Pat Raskob
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