Individual Income Tax
Filing Statuses (En Español)

  1. What are Wisconsin's filing statuses, and which one should I use?

  1. What are Wisconsin's filing statuses, and which one should I use?

    Below are the Wisconsin filing statuses. If more than one filing status applies to you, choose the one that will give you the lowest tax.

    Single

    You are considered single if, on December 31 of the tax year:

    • You were never married, or
    • You were legally separated under a final decree of divorce or separate maintenance, or
    • You were widowed before January 1 of the tax year and you did not remarry during the tax year.

    Married filing joint return

    Most married couples will pay less tax if they file a joint return. You and your spouse may file a joint return if:

    • You were married as of December 31 of the tax year, or
    • Your spouse died during the tax year and you did not remarry during the tax year.

    A marriage means only a legal union between a man and a woman as husband and wife.

    A husband and wife may file a joint return even if only one had income or if they did not live together all year. However, both spouses must sign the return, and both are responsible for any tax due on the joint return. This means that if one spouse does not pay the tax due, the other may have to.

    A joint return cannot be filed if you and your spouse have different tax years.

    If you file a joint return, you cannot, after the due date of the return, change your mind and file a separate return for that year.

    Married filing separate return

    You may file a separate return if you were married as of December 31 of the tax year, and you and your spouse do not file a joint return. In most instances, if you file a separate return, you will pay more state tax than if you file jointly. In addition, a number of credits will be limited or unavailable to you if you file using the married filing separate status. For more information, see the Wisconsin Form 1 Instructions.

    Head of household

    To use this filing status for Wisconsin purposes, you must qualify to file your federal income tax return using the head of household or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child filing status. Use of this filing status is generally restricted to unmarried individuals, but certain married persons who lived apart from their spouses for the last 6 months of the tax year may also qualify. See the instructions for your federal return for complete details.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Customer Service Bureau
PO Box 8949
Madison, WI 53708-8949
Phone: (608) 266-2772
Fax: (608) 267-1030
Email: DORIncome@revenue.wi.gov

Page last updated December 30, 2013