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Who is a Qualifying Person?

To qualify to file a tax return as a Head of Household, a taxpayer usually has to name a qualifying person on his or her tax return whom qualifies him or her as a Head of Household. Many people can be a qualifying person for a Head of Household. Anyone of the following can be a qualifying person. Any of the people below can be qualifying persons for the taxpayer to file as a head of household. However, they all have to meet the 'qualifying person' tests. For example, an unmarried taxpayer's child has to meet the qualifying child test to become a qualifying person for the taxpayer.

Unmarried Child

An unmarried qualifying child includes:

  • your child, grandchild, stepchild, or eligible foster child, legally adopted child

Does a qualifying child have to be a dependent?

No. A qualifying child does not have to be your dependent if the child is unmarried. However, in general a married child is a qualifying child if he or she is also your dependent.

What is considered an eligible foster child?

An eligible foster is a child who is placed with you by an authorized placement agency or by judgement, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction.

Married Child

A married child is a qualifying child if he or she:

  • is the taxpayer's dependent or
  • satisfies the criteria below.

A married child includes:

  • your child, grandchild, stepchild, eligible foster child

In general a married child must be your dependent to be a qualifying child. However, a married child can still be a qualifying person for a taxpayer if all three of the following requirements are met:

  1. the child is your qualifying child (see definition of a dependent)
  2. the child does not file a joint return (unless the return is filed only as a claim for refund and no tax liability would exist for either spouse had they filed separate returns)
  3. the child is a US citizen or resident or a resident of Canada or Mexico

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