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Your Filing Status

The filing status claimed on the federal return must also be the same as claimed on the North Carolina income tax return.  If the taxpayer has not filed a federal income tax return, the taxpayer must claim the filing status to which the taxpayer would be entitled under section 2 of the Internal Revenue Code.  However, for a married couple, if either the taxpayer or the taxpayer's spouse is a nonresident and had no North Carolina taxable income for the taxable year, the filing status married filing separately may be claimed.  Once a joint return is filed, separate returns may not be filed for the year after the due date of the return.

For tax year 2018, a North Carolina tax return is required if your federal gross income exceeds the amount listed for your filing status shown below:

$8,750 for Single
$17,500 for Married Filing Jointly
$8,750 for Married Filing Separately (If spouse does not claim itemized deductions)
$0 for Married Filing Separately (If spouse claims itemized deductions)
$14,000 for Head of Household
$17,500 for Qualifying Widow(er)/Surviving Spouse
$0 for Nonresident alien

Under the Internal Revenue Code, Section 2(b)(2), an individual who is legally separated from his/her spouse under a decree of divorce or of separate maintenance shall not be considered as married. North Carolina law, N.C.G.S. 52-10.1, authorizes a married couple to enter into a legal separation agreement. Although an agreement pursuant to N.C.G.S. 52-10.1 is a legal contract without being sanctioned by a court, it does not constitute a legal separation under a decree of divorce or of separate maintenance within the meaning of the Internal Revenue Code. Therefore, a separation agreement must be sanctioned by a court in the form of a decree or judgment for parties to be considered unmarried for purposes of filing status.

You may obtain additional information by calling toll-free at 1-877-252-3052 or visiting a service center.

Be sure to check the appropriate filing status on your North Carolina return.