Written by:
Image
Paul Tracy

Paul has been a respected figure in the financial markets for more than two decades.

Prior to starting InvestingAnswers, Paul founded and managed one of the most influential investment research firms in America, with more than 2 million monthly readers. While there, Paul authored and edited thousands of financial research briefs, was published on Nasdaq. com, Yahoo Finance, and dozens of other prominent media outlets, and appeared as a guest expert at prominent radio shows and i...

View all posts
Updated August 5, 2020

What is a Qualifying Widow or Widower?

A qualifying widow or widower is a person who can still file as married filing jointly for tax purposes.

How Does a Qualifying Widow or Widower Work?

Let's say John and Jane Doe have been married for 40 years. John is diagnosed with terminal cancer and dies a year later. When John dies, Jane legally ceases to be married and from a tax perspective becomes a single taxpayer. However, the IRS allows her to apply the tax rates as if she were married filing jointly for the next two tax years because she is a qualifying widow. However, Jane cannot continue to claim an exemption for John.

Jane also has to be a mother supporting a dependent child in her home in order to qualify. If she remarries before the two-year period ends, she loses her status as a qualifying widow.

Why Does a Qualifying Widow or Widower Matter?

Persons who experience the loss of a spouse can still claim the same standard deduction as a married couple filing jointly, which often reduces tax liability and gives the taxpayer time to manage the financial effects of losing a spouse. Note that a qualifying widow or widower cannot use IRS Form 1040EZ.

Ask an Expert about Qualifying Widow or Widower
At InvestingAnswers, all of our content is verified for accuracy by Paul Tracy and our team of certified financial experts. We pride ourselves on quality, research, and transparency, and we value your feedback. Below you'll find answers to some of the most common reader questions about Qualifying Widow or Widower.
Be the first to ask a question

If you have a question about Qualifying Widow or Widower, then please ask Paul.

Ask a question

Paul has been a respected figure in the financial markets for more than two decades. Prior to starting InvestingAnswers, Paul founded and managed one of the most influential investment research firms in America, with more than 2 million monthly readers.

If you have a question about Qualifying Widow or Widower, then please ask Paul.

Ask a question Read more from Paul

Read this next

Don't Know a Financial Term?
Search our library of 4,000+ terms
Paul Tracy - profile
Ask an Expert about Qualifying Widow or Widower

By submitting this form you agree with our Privacy Policy

Share
close