Filing Head of Household

At the end of the tax year, if you are single and unmarried, you may be eligible to file your tax return using the Head of Household status. You have to be responsible for maintaining a residence for a child, parent or other eligible relative, and you have to be a citizen or resident of the United States in order to qualify. By filing Head of Household, you’ll generally receive a lower rate of taxation and a larger standard deduction than filing Single.

Married taxpayers who spent the final six months of the tax year separated from their spouse in a completely different household, may be considered unmarried, and therefore can qualify for Head of Household. If this situation exists, it’s preferable to file this way instead of Married, filing separately, which has a higher tax rate and less of a standard deduction.

There are two main requirements you must meet in order to file using the status Head of Household:

  1. You are unmarried or considered to be unmarried, as you’ve lived separately from your spouse for six months.
  2. You handled over 50% of the household expenses throughout the year, for yourself and another qualifying dependent.

All qualifying dependents are required to live in the same house as you for more than six months of the year. The only exception to this rule is if you claim your parents, who aren’t required to live with you. There are also exclusions for temporary absences.