Understanding Head of Household Tax Status

You will only qualify for head of household tax benefits if you meet the legal definition used in the tax code. This definition says you must:

  • Provide for more than half of the expenses to keep your home;
  • Must be responsible for at least one qualifying person.

Benefits of Head of Household Tax

You will qualify for a lower tax rate if you meet the definition of a legal head of household. There is also a higher standard deduction for a person fitting this description than one who is married filing separately. If you are married, filing jointly will typically provide you the lowest tax rate and highest deduction. It does not make sense to use your spouse as your qualifying dependent for this reason.

Who is a Qualifying Dependent

Your qualifying dependent may be a child or another relative. If your dependent is your child, stepchild, or other person who you are in charge of caring for, he or she may qualify. The person must live with you for more than half of the year. The person must also not provide more than half of his or her own care. A relative other than a child may qualify if the person is not capable of caring for himself or herself more than half of the time.

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