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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