Your Filing Status

You should check the same filing status on your North Carolina return that you claimed on the federal return unless you or your spouse is a nonresident and had no North Carolina taxable income for the tax year. If you filed a joint federal return and one of you was a nonresident of North Carolina who had no North Carolina taxable income, you may file a joint State return. However, you still have the option of filing your State return as married filing separately. If you choose to file a separate North Carolina return, you must complete either a federal return as married filing separately reporting only your income, deductions, and exemptions, or a schedule showing the computation of your separate income, deductions, and exemptions and attach it to your North Carolina return. You must also include a copy of your joint federal return unless your federal return reflects a North Carolina address.

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. (updated December 2009)

A North Carolina tax return is required for most taxpayers if your gross income exceeds:

$5,500.00 and your filing status is:Single
11,000.00 forMarried Filing Jointly
2,500.00 forMarried Filing Separately
6,900.00 forHead of Household
8,500.00 forQualifying Widow(er) with dependent child

If you are 65 or older or blind or claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return, your filing requirement amounts are different than the amounts shown above. You may obtain additional information by calling toll-free at 1-877-252-3052 or visiting a service center. This additional information is also available on page 4 of the North Carolina instruction booklet.

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