Please consider a case where I couple, living in the US, has two grown kids (a son and a daughter) (over 40) and the father dies in 2019. The mother inherits the husband’s assets. The couple normally files a joint income tax return.

The son has done well and is self-supporting. The daughter works very part time and has no assets. The mother is planning on supporting the daughter in 2020. The mother and the daughter have same permanent residence. Can the mother using the qualifying widow tax status on her 2020 income tax return?

I believe the answer is yes.

  • 3
    "Qualifying window"? But apparently she could be a qualifying WIDOW, assuming the daughter meets the tests for being a dependent: ttps://www.efile.com/qualifying-widow-widower-tax-filing-status/ irs.gov/faqs/filing-requirements-status-dependents/dependents/… – jamesqf Jan 25 '20 at 17:56
  • @jamesqf I think you are telling me that she can use the qualifying widow because the daughter is a qualifying relative. – Bob Jan 25 '20 at 18:38
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    If the daughter earns less than $4200, she counts as a qualifying relative for the mother to file as Head of Household, as long as other conditions are met too: efile.com/… and efile.com/irs-head-of-household-tax-filing-status/… – stanri Jan 25 '20 at 18:42
  • @stanri: but this Q is not about HoH. HoH is better than filing single, but QW is even better than HoH -- QW gives you the same brackets, rates and rules as MFJ, but only for two years after the year of death (for the year of death itself you can file as MFJ). And even for HoH the $4,200 limit only applies to a qualifying relative OTHER than a child -- this Q is a child. – dave_thompson_085 Jan 26 '20 at 5:59
  • @dave_thompson_085 my comment was in response to another comment which isn't there now, where the OP says the child is too old to be a Q child (and HoH does still allow for children to be a Q dependant if they don't qualify as as Q child by age, as example 1 on this page shows: efile.com/…) – stanri Jan 26 '20 at 10:21

The criteria for Qualifying Widow is detailed here: https://www.efile.com/qualifying-widow-widower-tax-filing-status/

One of the criteria is that you have a "Dependant Child"

must have a dependent child in order to file as a Qualifying Widow or Widower

A dependant child is defined here: https://www.efile.com/claim-a-qualifying-child-as-a-dependent-tax-deduction/

And they must be below the age of 19, or 24 if a student, or permanently disabled:

Age: They must be one of the following:

Under the age of 19 on the last day of the year and younger than you (and your spouse if filing jointly)

A full-time student under the age of 24 on the last day of the year and younger than you (and your spouse if filing jointly)

Permanently disabled at any time during the year, regardless of their age

Since the daughter is above the age of 24, she will only qualify if she is permanently disabled. Otherwise she will not be considered a Qualifying Child, and the mother cannot file as a Qualifying Widow.

However, if the daughter earns less than $4200 a year, the mother can file as Head of Household, with the daughter as a Qualifying Relative, as long as other conditions are met too.

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