Failing to Take Advantage of Qualifying Widow Status
If you become a widow, you need to make sure you don’t file using the wrong tax status. Otherwise, you could miss out on some tax breaks.
If your spouse dies during the year and you’re a single-income household at tax time, you can still use the married filing jointly status for the year in which your spouse died. That way, you can take advantage of the higher standard deduction for married couples and joint return tax rates.
The following two years, you might be able to file as widow with dependent child if you have kids. You can claim a higher standard deduction with this filing status than as head of household, Du Val said.