Head of Household Filing Status

Single people who have kids may be able to save on taxes by filing as head of household.  The head of household filing status provides for a tax bracket that is better than the single filing status.  To qualify for head of household filing status, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be unmarried or “considered unmarried” on the last day of the year (people whose divorce is not finalized at the end of the year can be “considered unmarried” for tax purposes if their spouse did not live with them for the last 6 months of the year).
  • You paid more than 1/2 the cost of keeping up a home for the year.  Costs included in the calculation include mortgage interest, property taxes, repairs, and food.  You do not count other items of support such as purchases of clothing, medical expenses or car expenses.
  • A “qualifying person” must have lived with you more than half the year.  For purposes of head of household filing status, a “qualifying person” includes a biological or adopted child or grandchild; a parent, grandparent, sibling; nieces and nephews; and mothers- and fathers-in-law — but only if you can claim a dependency exemption for the person.

A note for unmarried couples — even if you can claim your partner as a dependent, you cannot file as head of household because you are considered to be unrelated and thus your partner is not a “qualifying person” for head of household purposes.