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
 

 

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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. 


 

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