Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Module 5: Filing Status

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Married Filing Jointly Filing Status

Taxpayers may use the married filing jointly status if they are married and both agree to file a joint return.

This includes:

  • taxpayers who live together in a common-law marriage recognized by the state where the marriage began
    • Common-law states: Alabama, Colorado, District of Columbia, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Texas
  • taxpayers who live apart but are not legally separated
  • taxpayers whose spouses died during the year and who have not remarried

Both husband and wife must sign the income tax return. Special rules apply when a spouse cannot sign the tax return because of death, illness, or absence.

Both husband and wife are responsible for any tax owed.

The lowest tax rates apply to the married filing jointly filing status.


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