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Last Updated: 12/19/2018

Filing Status for Individuals

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The Minnesota Department of Revenue uses your filing status to determine your filing requirements, standard deduction, eligibility for certain credits and deductions, and your correct tax.

You must use the same filing status on your state income tax return as on your federal return. (See Minnesota Statute 289A.09.) The options are:

  • Single
  • Married Filing Jointly
  • Married Filing Separately
  • Head of Household
  • Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child

Consider your tax situation before you select a filing status. While the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sets the rules for filing statuses, the status you choose can affect your state return. For example, if you choose Married Filing Separately, you may not claim the following Minnesota credits:

  • Child and Dependent Care Credit
  • Working Family Credit
  • K-12 Education Credit

For more information on filing status, see IRS Publication 501 on the IRS website.

Can Minnesota laws affect my filing status and federal return?

Yes. They can affect your filing status, how income is reported, and who you may claim as a dependent. We discuss some of these issues below.

What if I was married in Minnesota?

For your marriage to be valid in Minnesota, you must get a license and certificate. Two witnesses and someone authorized to solemnize the marriage must also be present. (See Minnesota Statute 517.17.)

If you belong to any of the following groups, you may use your traditional form and custom to solemnize a marriage. However, you must still get a marriage license and certificate.

  • Quaker (also called Friends)
  • Baha’i
  • Hindu
  • Muslim
  • American Indian

What if I was married before coming to Minnesota?

We will recognize the marriage if it was valid at the time of the contract – or validated by later law changes – in the place where the marriage occurred.

Does Minnesota recognize legal separation?

Yes. A legal separation is a court determination of the rights and responsibilities of the parties. It does not terminate the marriage. Only dissolution of marriage (divorce) ends the marriage. As a married individual, however, you may file as single if you have a separate maintenance decree. (See Minnesota Statute 518.06.)
Note: You and your spouse always have the option to file joint or separate tax returns. You do not need to be legally separated to choose the Married Filing Separately filing status.

Does Minnesota recognize common law marriages?

No. You are not considered married and may not file joint state or federal returns. However, if you and your spouse were recognized under a common law marriage in another state and moved to Minnesota, you may file as married while living in Minnesota. (See Minnesota Statute 517.20.)

Does Minnesota recognize same-sex marriages?

Yes. We treat all married couples alike for tax purposes, whether same-sex or opposite-sex.