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, it’s a specific term that has tax implications, and knowing how to file your taxes can save you, or cost you, money on your tax bill.
Here is a short guide to filing your taxes as a 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’s expenses, and has a qualifying child or dependent. You must be all three things to qualify. If you are married, then you must file as 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.
The only one with a bit of ambiguity is what is “considered unmarried.” This is something that must be true on the last day of the tax year.
To qualify, you must file a separate tax return, paid for more than half of the cost of maintaining your home, your spouse did not live in the home during the last six months of the tax year, and your home was the main home of a 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 must not be an expectation that the spouse returns after the absence.
For the first rule, paying for more than half of household expenses, you should take all household expenses into account. This includes your mortgage or 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.
You can also claim your mother or father as a dependent – your dependent parent doesn’t have to live with you. Otherwise, they must be related to you and live with you for more than half the year. If you can claim them as a dependent, then they qualify for purposes of a Head of Household filing status.
If you are unsure, you can always use the IRS’s tool for determining your filing status.
Tax Benefits of Filing as Head of Household
There are benefits to filing as a Head of Household such as a larger standard deduction and better tax brackets.
For the 2022 tax year, the standard deduction for a head of household is $19,400, compared to just $12,950 for a single filer. It’s less than the standard deduction amount for married couples and surviving spouses. The tax rates are also more favorable.
If you are considering filing as a Head of Household, be very careful to look over the rules and ensure you satisfy them. The IRS is likely to review these very carefully to make sure you truly qualify.
We’ve Got You Covered
Don’t worry about knowing these tax rules. Meet with a TurboTax Full Service expert who can prepare, sign and file your taxes, so you can be 100% confident your taxes are done right. Start TurboTax Live Full Service today, in English or Spanish, and get your taxes done and off your mind.