Taxpayer asks:

So, my fiancé filed her taxes in February as Single. We then got married in May, and I am just now filing my taxes. My question is, do I file Single too or married Separate? 

She has yet to legally change her name on Drivers License/SSC/IRS btw.  

Taxgirl says:

First, congratulations on your new marriage! 

For federal income tax status, marital status is determined by state law as of the last day of the calendar year. 

That means if you are married on December 31, you are considered married for the year (married filing jointly or married filing separately). If you’re not married on December 31 because you were never legally married or you were legally separated or divorced according to the laws of your state, you are not married (single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child). It typically doesn’t matter what happens in between.

So, in your case, if you are filing for the last tax year (2019), you’d still file as single. When you file next year for the tax year 2020, you’ll file as married (either married filing jointly or married filing separately). 

 And it doesn’t matter if your wife has yet to change her name on her documents. While there may be important reasons to do so, it doesn’t affect your tax filing status.

Before you go: be sure to read my disclaimer. Remember, I’m a lawyer and we love disclaimers.
If you have a question, here’s how to Ask The Taxgirl.

Author

Kelly Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer and podcaster.

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