Your Guide to Filing Taxes as the Head of Household

Tax Deductions and Credits filing-taxes-as-head-of-household

If you’ve ever prepared your taxes, you may have been intrigued by this term – Head of Household.

Head of Household isn’t just a fancy title, in the tax world it’s a specific filing status that can save you money if you qualify as Head of Household.

Here is a guide to help you figure out, what is Head of Household filing status and what are the tax benefits of filing Head of Household?

Are You A Head of Household?
A Head of Household is someone who is considered unmarried, pays for more than half of the household expenses, and has a qualifying child or dependent. You must meet all three requirements to qualify. If you are married, you will file as either Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately. If you are unmarried but pay less than half of the household’s expenses or you don’t have a qualifying dependent, then you file as a single filer.

For the first rule, paying for more than half of household expenses, you should take all household expenses into account. This includes your mortgage and rent payment as well as maintenance, insurance, utilities, repairs, and even food. Everything to maintain the home is included.

Finally, the qualifying child or dependent is one that has a clear definition as well. For qualifying children, they must be single or, if they are married, eligible for you to claim as a dependent and live with you for more than half the year. You can also claim your mother or father as a dependent and qualify as Head of Household, but they don’t need to live with you.

You may be wondering, what does “considered unmarried” mean?

To be “considered unmarried”, you have to file a separate tax return, pay for more than half of the cost of maintaining your home, not live in the home with your spouse during the last six months of the tax year, and your home is the main home of your child, stepchild, or foster child for at least six months. Lastly, you have to be able to claim that child as a dependent.

If you experience a temporary absence, which is when a spouse lives out of the home for purposes of going to school, military service, medical treatment, or a vacation; then you don’t qualify as “considered unmarried.” There can not be an expectation that the spouse returns after the absence.

What Are the Tax Benefits of Filing as Head of Household?
There are benefits to filing as Head of Household such as a larger standard deduction and lower tax rates than filing as single.

For the 2019 tax year, the standard deduction for head of household is $18,350, compared to just $12,200 for a single filer.

Don’t worry about knowing these tax rules. TurboTax will ask simple questions about you and help you chose the right filing status for you based on your entries. If you have questions, you can connect live via one-way video to a TurboTax Live CPA or Enrolled Agent with an average of 15 years experience to get your tax questions answered from the comfort of your home. TurboTax Live CPAs and Enrolled Agents are available in English and Spanish, year round and can also review, sign, and file your return.


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