Head of household

Discussions from before 2005.

Re: Head of household

Unread postby Pete » Thu Jan 06, 2005 10:23 pm

Actual IRS Publication 501...I misread,and responded incorrectly. My apologies.

Head of Household

You may be able to file as head of household if you meet all the following requirements.


You are unmarried or “considered unmarried” on the last day of the year.

You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year.

A “qualifying person” lived with you in the home for more than half the year (except for temporary absences, such as school). However, your dependent parent does not have to live with you. See Special rule for parent, later, under Qualifying Person. A foster child must live with you all year. Also, see Table 4, later.

If you qualify to file as head of household, your tax rate usually will be lower than the rates for single or married filing separately. You will also receive a higher standard deduction than if you file as single or married filing separately.
How to file. If you file as head of household, you can use either Form 1040A or Form 1040. Indicate your choice of this filing status by checking the box on line 4 of either form. Use the Head of a household column of the Tax Table or Section D of the Tax Computation Worksheet to figure your tax.

Considered Unmarried

You are considered unmarried on the last day of the tax year if you meet all the following tests.


You file a separate return (defined, earlier, under Joint Return After Separate Returns).

You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home for the tax year.

Your spouse did not live in your home during the last 6 months of the tax year. Your spouse is considered to live in your home even if he or she is temporarily absent due to special circumstances. See Temporary absences, later.

Your home was the main home of your child, stepchild or adopted child for more than half the year or was the main home of your foster child for the entire year. (See Home of qualifying person, later, for rules applying to a child's birth, death, or temporary absence during the year.)

You must be able to claim an exemption for the child. However, you can still meet this test if you cannot claim the exemption only because of one of the three situations described under Exception on page 16. The general rules for claiming an exemption for a dependent are explained later under Exemptions for Dependents.

If you were considered married for part of the year and lived in a community property state (listed earlier under Married Filing Separately ), special rules may apply in determining your income and expenses. See Publication 555 for more information.

Re: Head of household

Unread postby CoDad » Thu Jan 06, 2005 10:24 pm


No sweat......This is critical to understand. I will speak for myself. Like I said, I have paid over 10k in 6 months for alimony. If I filed married (separate or joint) I could not deduct the alimony. However, I have had one of my children for over 1/2 of the time. I pay 100% for the upkeep of my 2 bedroom bungalow. I am going to file HOH.

I read your post all the time. It's good we challenge each other when we both are trying to give divdad the right advice. Like always, contact a CPA or tax consultant.

It's always good to read your posts Pete!

Re: Head of household

Unread postby kahuna » Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:08 am

I am in the same situation. I have temporary orders but my divorce will not be official for a few weeks.

In my case, I will be filing marrried filing jointly since this will leave me with the least tax burden. I have not yet confirmed this with nutjob but I plan on taking the completed return to court next month to show her lawyer and have her sign it. If she refuses, we'll mention it to the judge to further show her being unreasonable and delusional.

This only works because I will owe money for '04. If I was owed a refund, I wouldn't think of doing it because she'll want her "fair" share.

Re: Head of household

Unread postby GladToBeAwake » Fri Jan 07, 2005 12:37 pm

Hi Folks - I have been quite busy with the kids which has severely impacted my time in hovering over this site...

My now Ex Filed Married Separate and Claimed all three kids early in '04 and did not tell me until April 10th. After an extensive 2 hour phone call on the IRS hot line, it was determined I had no choice except to file Married Separate and Claim all three kids. There was no spousal paid in 2003, and she had moved in with the b/f on July 4th, which meant I missed the six-month mark by four days for living separate and apart. ...

Per the IRS I was legally obligate to claim the kids since I have used the corporate Flex Spending (pre-tax reimbursements) account for their Dependant Day Care expenses.

Note: For Dependant Day Care Flex Spending, you can only claim Dependant Day Care expenses for kids you are claiming on your return.
(Thus if you alternate who claims the kids every year, and have Flex Spending, you would want to use the Flex during the years you will be claiming the kids.

It is my understanding Medical Flex Spending accounts do not require a Parent to claim the kids on the tax forms. In other words, if available through your employer, you can use Medical Flex account for the kids medical expenses even if you are not claiming them as dependants.

The combination of these two items, along with your Filing Status, can save a fair amount in tax liability.

As always - check with your Tax Advisor or call the IRS Hot Line to confirm your specific scenario.

Happy New Year folks. My xmas present was the letter I knew was coming from the IRS indicating more than one return was receiving claiming our kids....

Re: Head of household

Unread postby divdad » Fri Jan 07, 2005 2:22 pm

Dear Pete & Codad;

Thank you for the posts and consideration.

I have been divorced for 5 yrs (still have the psycho-hose beast around) but, have less than 50/50 on paper so, happily not married to her.

Wishing all of you the best of luck w/ your situation,


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