This Podcast or Blog Post is in response to requests for general information about claiming head-of-household filing status on your federal income tax return. If you qualify to file as head of household, your tax rate usually will be lower than the rates for single or married filing separately. You will also receive a higher standard deduction than if you file as single or married filing separately.
You may be able to file as head of household only if (1) you are unmarried or “considered unmarried” on the last day of the year, (2) you paid more than half the cost of keeping up a household for the year, and (3) a “qualifying person” lived with you in the household for more than half the year (except for temporary absences, such as school). If the qualifying person is your dependent parent, he or she does not have to live with you.
As noted, you must be either unmarried or considered unmarried on the last day of the year. For this purpose, you are considered unmarried on the last day of the tax year if (1) you file a separate return, (2) you paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home for the tax year, (3) your spouse did not live in your home during the last six months of the tax year, (3) your home was the main home of your child, stepchild, or foster child for more than half the year, and (4) you can claim an exemption for the child. (You can meet this test even if you cannot claim an exemption for the child, if the only reason you cannot claim it is because the parent without custody of the child can claim it as a result of satisfying certain requirements). You are also considered unmarried for head of household purposes if your spouse was a nonresident alien at any time during the year and you do not choose to treat your nonresident spouse as a resident alien.
For head of household filing status, you are considered as maintaining a household only if you pay more than half the cost of keeping up the household for the tax year. The expenses of maintaining a household include property taxes, mortgage interest, rent, utility charges, upkeep and repairs, property insurance, and food consumed on the premises. Expenses of maintaining a household do not include expenses such as clothing, education, medical treatment, vacations, life insurance, or transportation. Also, to be considered as maintaining a household, the household must actually constitute your home for the tax year.
Please contact the office of Don Fitch Accountancy at (760)567-3110 or Email Don.Fitch@CPA.com if you have any questions or would like additional information.
DON FITCH, CPA
74478 Highway 111 #3
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Toll Free: (877)CPA-Help or (877)272-4357
P.S. My firm is based upon referrals. Please feel free to refer my firm to anyone you know that is looking for a new CPA and/or tax preparer. Thank you in advance.