If your spouse died in 2000, you can use married filing jointly as your filing status for 2000 if you would otherwise qualify to use that status. The year of death is the last year for which you can file jointly with your deceased spouse. See Married Filing Jointly, earlier.
You may be eligible to use qualifying widow(er) with dependent child as your filing status for 2 years following the year of death of your spouse. For example, if your spouse died in 1999, and you have not remarried, you may be able to use this filing status for 2000 and 2001.
This filing status entitles you to use joint return tax rates and the highest standard deduction amount (if you do not itemize deductions). This status does not entitle you to file a joint return.
How to file.
If you file as qualifying widow(er) with dependent child, you can use either Form 1040A or Form 1040. Indicate your filing status by checking the box on line 5 of either form. Write the year your spouse died in the space provided on line 5. Use the Married filing jointly column of the Tax Table or Schedule Y-1 of the Tax Rate Schedules, to figure your tax.
You are eligible to file your 2000 return as a qualifying widow(er) with dependent child if you meet all of the following tests.
- You were entitled to file a joint return with your spouse for the year your spouse died. It does not matter whether you actually filed a joint return.
- You did not remarry before the end of 2000.
- You have a child, stepchild, adopted child, or foster child for whom you can claim an exemption.
- You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home that is the main home for you and that child for the entire year, except for temporary absences. See Temporary absences and Keeping Up a Home, discussed earlier under Head of Household.
As mentioned earlier, this filing status is only available for 2 years following the year of death of your spouse.
John Reeds wife died in 1998. John has not remarried. During 1999 and 2000, he continued to keep up a home for himself and his child (for whom he can claim an exemption). For 1998 he was entitled to file a joint return for himself and his deceased wife. For 1999 and 2000 he can file as qualifying widower with a dependent child. After 2000 he can file as head of household if he qualifies.
Death or birth.
You may be eligible to file as a qualifying widow(er) with dependent child if the child who qualifies you for this filing status is born or dies during the year. You must have provided more than half of the cost of keeping up a home that was the childs main home during the entire part of the year he or she was alive.
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