Federal filing status determines how federal tax will be withheld and is based on the values you select on Form W-4. The status you choose--single or married-- tells the payroll department which of the two withholding tables to use for your situation. Other filing status options are handled by the number of allowances you claim on the Form W-4. Income tax filing status options are based on your marital status and family situation. Single individuals, married persons filing jointly or surviving spouse, married persons filing separately, head of household, and a qualifying widow(er) with dependent children are the five federal filing status options for income tax.. For help selecting a filing status, visit this page.