All Things Tax

All Things Tax

Like the title says, from the filing process and tax questions to tax policy and reform, you can search and share All Things Tax here. This is the place to find answers to all your general questions that don't fall under the other categories. And just a reminder: questions about software or online filing should be posted in DIY Products.

Associate (Council Member)
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Registered: ‎12-17-2012

Demystifying Head of Household Status

You know you are the heart of your household, but would the IRS consider you the head of household? Which filing status you use determines the amount of your standard deduction and what tax rates are used to calculate your federal income tax. The head of household (HOH) filing status is more generous on both accounts than the Single filing status.


We’ve had a lot of questions in the community recently asking whether or not a member qualified as Head of Household. Determining head of household can be a tricky thing, so we asked Lynn Ebel from The Tax Institute to provide some guidance on determining if someone qualifies for Head of Household. Remember every tax situation is different so make sure to check with a tax professional if your situation is not clear-cut.


In order to file as head of household, you must meet all of these criteria:


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

  • If you were not married at all during the year or have a permanent court order of legal separation, divorce, or separate maintenance at midnight on December 31, you are unmarried and meet this requirement.
  • To be “considered unmarried” you must file a separate return from your spouse and have provided more than half of the cost for maintaining your home that year. Your home must also have been the residence of a child for more than half of the tax year. Additionally, your spouse must not have lived in the house at any time during the last six months of the year and temporary absence (job relocation, military deployment, temporary incarceration) does not count.

2.  You paid more than half the cost of maintaining the household for the year.

  • The costs that can be counted are rent, mortgage interest, real estate taxes, home insurance, property taxes, repairs, utilities and food eaten in the home.

3.  A qualifying child or qualifying relative lived with you for more than half of the year.


Believe it or not this is the short version of evaluating if you qualify as Head of Household. There are a number of other factors that can be considered as well. We’ve posted more information on this question on our Block Talk blog.


Still unsure whether or not you qualify as Head of Household? Share your questions here in the Community.


Thanks, JerryG

Community Manager

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