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Filing Statuses for Individual Tax Returns

Single

If on December 31 you were unmarried or separated from your spouse either by divorce or separate maintenance decree, you would use the filing status of “Single” and are entitled to a $1,500 personal exemption.

Married Filing a Joint Return

If you and your spouse were married and living together on December 31 you may use the filing status of “Married Filing a Joint Return” even if you did not live together for the entire year. This filing status is entitled to a $3,000 personal exemption.

The State of Alabama recognizes common law marriages.

Husband and wife both must be residents of Alabama to use this filing status. Once you file a joint return, you may not amend it after the due date by filing separate returns for that year.

If your spouse died in 2008, you still can file a joint return for 2008.

Married Filing a Separate Return

You can file a separate return even if you are married. If you file a separate return, report only your own income, exemptions, deductions, and credits. You are responsible only for the tax due on your return and you are entitled to a $1,500 personal exemption for the filing status of “Married Filing a Separate Return.”

If you file a separate return, you must provide your spouse’s full name and social security number on the return. If your spouse is not required to file an Alabama individual income tax return, attach a statement explaining why your spouse is not required to file. Note: Alabama is not a community property state.

Head of Family

You can use the filing status of “Head of Family” only if all of the following requirements are met:

  1. You were unmarried or legally separated on December 31
  2. You are not a surviving spouse
  3. The qualifying dependent is not a foster child
  4. You meet either Test 1 or Test 2 below:
    • Test 1: You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your parent’s main home for the entire year. (Your parent must have been your dependent, but did not have to live with you in your home), OR
    • Test 2: You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home in which you and one of the following lived for more than six months of the year (temporary absences, such as for vacation or school, are counted as time lived in the home):
      • Your unmarried child, grandchild, great grandchild, adopted child, or stepchild. This child does not have to be your dependent.
      • Your married child, grandchild, great grandchild, adopted child, or stepchild. This child must be your dependent, but if your married child’s other parent claims him or her as a dependent under the federal rules for children of divorced or separated parents, this child does not have to be your dependent.
      • Any relative whom you can claim as a dependent.

You are entitled to a $3,000 personal exemption for the filing status of “Head of Family.”

If the person for whom you kept up a home was born or died during the year, you may still file as “Head of Family” if the home was that person’s main home for the entire part of the year he or she was alive.

Special Rules

A nonresident taxpayer who receives income from Alabama sources or for performing services within Alabama and who also had income while a resident of Alabama during the same tax year must file both the Alabama Nonresident Form 40NR and the Alabama Part-Year/Full-Year Resident Form 40.

If you are required to file both returns, the total personal exemption ($1,500 or $3,000) and the dependent exemption ($300) must be claimed on the part year return (Form 40). No personal exemption or dependent exemption can then be claimed on the nonresident return (Form 40NR).