I'm married living with my spouse. Can I file head of household?

March 24, 2016 by Dave Du Val, EA
Mom blowing bubbles with daughter on a couch

Hey Dave,

I’m legally married and still live with my spouse. We both file our taxes separately. I want to know if I can file as head of household while he files as married filing separately since I make more money to take care of our children.

Please let me know.

Sabrina

 

Sabrina,

Sorry to say, but no, you should not file Head of Household (HOH) if you are married and still living with your spouse. The HOH status is for those who are unmarried (single, divorced, or legally separated) or those “considered unmarried” who maintain a home for a qualified person.

“Considered unmarried” means that you are legally married such as you are, but have lived apart from your spouse for the last 6 months of the tax year. Temporary absences (for such things as school, military service, etc., do not count as time lived apart).

So, since you are legally married and still living with your spouse, the HOH status is unavailable to you. You should file married filing jointly (MFJ) with your spouse if you both agree to do so, or file as married filing separately. Generally, the MFJ status is better, but this is not always the case.

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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