Can my ex-spouse qualify me for head of household?

April 26, 2016 by Dave Du Val, EA
Woman in white hat in a swimming pool

Hey Dave,

If my ex-wife lives with me and I provided more than half of her financial support will I be considered single status or head of household?

Moe

Moe,

The answer to this question provides a good illustration of how the tax code can be a bit confusing. In short, an ex-spouse does not qualify you to claim Head of Household (HOH), and if you do not have a qualifying dependent to claim HOH, you should not claim this status.

In order to qualify as a “qualifying dependent” for HOH the person must be properly related to you. An ex-spouse does not meet this relationship test. However, the relationship test to claim HOH, versus a dependent on your tax return, is not the same. Therefore, if your ex-wife lived with you all year as a member of your household, and she met the other tests to be a qualifying relative, she could be a dependent on your tax return ─ but she would not qualify you to claim HOH.

You will find more information on qualifying relatives here.

Deductibly Yours,

Dave
 

 

Recent Articles

IRS Audit
Generally, the IRS has three years from the date the return is filed to conduct an audit. However, there are exceptions to this three-year rule.
Money, United States Treasury Check, 1040 Tax Form
If you paid off a prior year state or local tax obligation to your state, you can include these payments as a state tax deduction, subject to the $10,000 cap.
standard deduction or itemized deduction
Most taxpayers are familiar with the terms standard deduction and itemized deductions, but many are unaware of the differences between the two.
Couple with moving boxes on their heads with happy faces drawn on them
The moving expenses deduction was eliminated for all tax years from 2018 through to 2025 for all taxpayers except those who are members of the Armed Forces.

SEARCH

 

David E. Du Val, EA
Chief Compliance Officer for TRI Holdco

 

Dave Du Val, EA, is Chief Compliance Officer for TRI Holdco. Inc., the parent company of TaxAudit, and Centenal Tax Group. A nationally recognized speaker and educator, Dave is well known for his high energy and dynamic presentation style. He is a frequent and popular guest speaker for the California Society of Tax Consultants, the California Society of Enrolled Agents and the National Association of Tax Professionals. Dave frequently contributes tax tips and information to news publications, including US News and World Report, USA Today, and CPA Practice Advisor. Dave is an Enrolled Agent who has prepared thousands of returns during his career and has trained and mentored hundreds of tax professionals. He is a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, the National Association of Enrolled Agents and the California Society of Enrolled Agents. Dave also holds a Master of Arts in Education and has been educating people since 1972. 


 

Recent Articles

IRS Audit
Generally, the IRS has three years from the date the return is filed to conduct an audit. However, there are exceptions to this three-year rule.
Money, United States Treasury Check, 1040 Tax Form
If you paid off a prior year state or local tax obligation to your state, you can include these payments as a state tax deduction, subject to the $10,000 cap.
standard deduction or itemized deduction
Most taxpayers are familiar with the terms standard deduction and itemized deductions, but many are unaware of the differences between the two.
Couple with moving boxes on their heads with happy faces drawn on them
The moving expenses deduction was eliminated for all tax years from 2018 through to 2025 for all taxpayers except those who are members of the Armed Forces.
This blog does not provide legal, financial, accounting, or tax advice. The content on this blog is “as is” and carries no warranties. TaxAudit does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of the content of this blog. Content may become out of date as tax laws change. TaxAudit may, but has no obligation to monitor or respond to comments.