What Are the Rules for Filing Head of Household?


Quick Answer

There are three tests to determine head-of-household status, notes the Internal Revenue Service. These include the unmarried test, support test and qualifying person test. In general, taxpayers may qualify for this filing status if they were unmarried or classified as unmarried on December 31 of the tax year and paid more than half of the cost of maintaining a home, and the taxpayer must also have a qualifying person living with him in order to choose head-of-household status.

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Full Answer

Head-of-household filers must be unmarried or considered unmarried on the last day of the tax year, advises the IRS. Unmarried tax filers are those who file separate returns, pay for more than half of the cost to keep up the home and did not live with the spouse in the home during the final 6 months of the year. The home must be the main home of the qualifying person, who is a child, foster child or stepchild or other dependents who qualify as relatives under the IRS's rules who lived with the taxpayer for 6 months or more.

In determining whether the taxpayer paid more than half of the cost of keeping up the home, taxpayers should look at rent, groceries, utilities, property insurance and other expenses, reports the IRS.

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