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Married Head of Household

I am married, can I file as a Head of Household?

In general, a married person cannot file as a Head of household on his or her tax return. However, there are times when a married person can use the head of household tax filing status.

If a married person lives apart from his or her spouse, he or she may be considered unmarried for tax purposes and qualifies for the head of household tax filing status.

How can a married person qualify as a Head of Household?

A married taxpayer is considered unmarried and can use the Head of Household tax filing status if ALL of the following tests are met:

  • he or she files a separate tax return
  • he or she paid more than half the cost of keeping up his or her home for the tax year
  • his or her spouse did not live in his or her home at any time during the last 6 months of the tax year. The taxpayer's spouse is considered to live in the taxpayer's home even if they were temporarily absent due to special circumstances.
  • his or her home was the main home of his or her child, stepchild, or eligible foster child for more than half the year
  • he or she must be able to claim an exemption for the child.

Married Head of Household

A married taxpayer can still meet the head of household test if he or she cannot claim the exemption only because the noncustodial parent is allowed to claim the exemption for the child.


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