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Publication 17
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000170792

Head of Household(p22)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
You may be able to file as head of household if you meet all the following requirements.
  1. You are unmarried or "considered unmarried" on the last day of the year. See Marital Status, earlier, and Considered Unmarried, later.
  2. You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year.
  3. A qualifying person lived with you in the home for more than half the year (except for temporary absences, such as school). However, if the qualifying person is your dependent parent, he or she does not have to live with you. See Special rule for parent, later, under Qualifying Person.
Deposit
If you qualify to file as head of household, your tax rate usually will be lower than the rates for single or married filing separately. You will also receive a higher standard deduction than if you file as single or married filing separately.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000170795

Kidnapped child.(p23)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
A child may qualify you to file as head of household even if the child has been kidnapped. For more information, see Publication 501.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000170796

How to file.(p23)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
If you file as head of household, you can use Form 1040. If your taxable income is less than $100,000, you may be able to file Form 1040A. Indicate your choice of this filing status by checking the box on line 4 of either form. Use the Head of a household column of the Tax Table or Section D of the Tax Computation Worksheet to figure your tax.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000170797

Considered Unmarried(p23)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
To qualify for head of household status, you must be either unmarried or considered unmarried on the last day of the year. You are considered unmarried on the last day of the tax year if you meet all the following tests.
  1. You file a separate return (defined earlier under Joint Return After Separate Returns).
  2. You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home for the tax year.
  3. Your spouse did not live in your home during the last 6 months of the tax year. Your spouse is considered to live in your home even if he or she is temporarily absent due to special circumstances. See Temporary absences, under Qualifying Person, later.
  4. Your home was the main home of your child, stepchild, or foster child for more than half the year. (See Home of qualifying person, under Qualifying Person, later, for rules applying to a child's birth, death, or temporary absence during the year.)
  5. You must be able to claim an exemption for the child. However, you meet this test if you cannot claim the exemption only because the noncustodial parent can claim the child using the rules described in Children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) under Qualifying Child in chapter 3, or in Support Test for Children of Divorced or Separated Parents (or Parents Who Live Apart) under Qualifying Relative in chapter 3. The general rules for claiming an exemption for a dependent are explained under Exemptions for Dependents in chapter 3.
EIC
If you were considered married for part of the year and lived in a community property state (listed earlier under Married Filing Separately), special rules may apply in determining your income and expenses. See Publication 555 for more information.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000170805

Nonresident alien spouse.(p23)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
You are considered unmarried for head of household purposes if your spouse was a nonresident alien at any time during the year and you do not choose to treat your nonresident spouse as a resident alien. However, your spouse is not a qualifying person for head of household purposes. You must have another qualifying person and meet the other tests to be eligible to file as a head of household.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000170808
Choice to treat spouse as resident.(p23)
You are considered married if you choose to treat your spouse as a resident alien. See Publication 519.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000170809

Keeping Up a Home(p23)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
To qualify for head of household status, you must pay more than half of the cost of keeping up a home for the year. You can determine whether you paid more than half of the cost of keeping up a home by using Worksheet 2–1. taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000170810
Pencil

Worksheet 2-1. Cost of Keeping Up a Home

 Amount
You Paid
Total Cost
Property taxes $ $
Mortgage interest expense   
Rent   
Utility charges   
Repairs/maintenance   
Property insurance   
Food consumed on the premises   
Other household expenses   
Totals $ $
Minus total amount you paid  (      )
Amount others paid  $
If the total amount you paid is more than the amount others paid, you meet the requirement of paying more than half the cost of keeping up the home.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000170812

Costs you include.(p23)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
Include in the cost of keeping up a home expenses such as rent, mortgage interest, real estate taxes, insurance on the home, repairs, utilities, and food eaten in the home.
If you used payments you received under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or other public assistance programs to pay part of the cost of keeping up your home, you cannot count them as money you paid. However, you must include them in the total cost of keeping up your home to figure if you paid over half the cost.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000170813

Costs you do not include.(p23)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
Do not include the costs of clothing, education, medical treatment, vacations, life insurance, or transportation. Also, do not include the rental value of a home you own or the value of your services or those of a member of your household.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000170814

Qualifying Person(p23)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
See Table 2-1 to see who is a qualifying person. Any person not described in Table 2-1 is not a qualifying person.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000170821

Table 2-1. Who Is a Qualifying Person Qualifying You To File as Head of Household?1

Caution.See the text of this chapter for the other requirements you must meet to claim head of household filing status.

IF the person is your . . . AND . . . THEN that person is . . .
qualifying child (such as a son, daughter, or grandchild who lived with you more than half the year and meets certain other tests)2 he or she is single a qualifying person, whether or not you can claim an exemption for the person.
 he or she is married and you can claim an exemption for him or her  a qualifying person.
 he or she is married and you cannot claim an exemption for him or her  not a qualifying person.3
qualifying relative4 who is your father or mother  you can claim an exemption for him or her5 a qualifying person.6
 you cannot claim an exemption for him or her not a qualifying person.
qualifying relative4 other than your father or mother (such as a grandparent, brother, or sister who meets certain tests)  he or she lived with you more than half the year, and he or she is related to you in one of the ways listed under Relatives who do not have to live with you in chapter 3 and you can claim an exemption for him or her5 a qualifying person.
 he or she did not live with you more than half the year not a qualifying person.
 he or she is not related to you in one of the ways listed under Relatives who do not have to live with you in chapter 3 and is your qualifying relative only because he or she lived with you all year as a member of your household  not a qualifying person.
 you cannot claim an exemption for him or her not a qualifying person.
1A person cannot qualify more than one taxpayer to use the head of household filing status for the year.
2The term "qualifying child" is defined in chapter 3. Note. If you are a noncustodial parent, the term "qualifying child" for head of household filing status does not include a child who is your qualifying child for exemption purposes only because of the rules described under Children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) under Qualifying Child in chapter 3. If you are the custodial parent and those rules apply, the child generally is your qualifying child for head of household filing status even though the child is not a qualifying child for whom you can claim an exemption.
3This person is a qualifying person if the only reason you cannot claim the exemption is that you can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return.
4The term "qualifying relative" is defined in chapter 3.
5If you can claim an exemption for a person only because of a multiple support agreement, that person is not a qualifying person. See Multiple Support Agreement in chapter 3.
6See Special rule for parent.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000248515

Example 1—child.(p23)

Your unmarried son lived with you all year and was 18 years old at the end of the year. He did not provide more than half of his own support and does not meet the tests to be a qualifying child of anyone else. As a result, he is your qualifying child (see Qualifying Child in chapter 3) and, because he is single, your qualifying person for you to claim head of household filing status.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000248517

Example 2—child who is not qualifying person.(p23)

The facts are the same as in Example 1 except your son was 25 years old at the end of the year and his gross income was $5,000. Because he does not meet the age test (explained under Qualifying Child in chapter 3), your son is not your qualifying child. Because he does not meet the gross income test (explained later under Qualifying Relative in chapter 3), he is not your qualifying relative. As a result, he is not your qualifying person for head of household purposes.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000248521

Example 3—girlfriend.(p23)

Your girlfriend lived with you all year. Even though she may be your qualifying relative if the gross income and support tests (explained in chapter 3) are met, she is not your qualifying person for head of household purposes because she is not related to you in one of the ways listed under Relatives who do not have to live with you in chapter 3. See Table 2-1.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000248524

Example 4—girlfriend's child.(p23)

The facts are the same as in Example 3 except your girlfriend's 10-year-old son also lived with you all year. He is not your qualifying child and, because he is your girlfriend's qualifying child, he is not your qualifying relative (see Not a Qualifying Child Test in chapter 3). As a result, he is not your qualifying person for head of household purposes.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000170816

Home of qualifying person.(p23)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
Generally, the qualifying person must live with you for more than half of the year.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000170817
Special rule for parent.(p23)
If your qualifying person is your father or mother, you may be eligible to file as head of household even if your father or mother does not live with you. However, you must be able to claim an exemption for your father or mother. Also, you must pay more than half the cost of keeping up a home that was the main home for the entire year for your father or mother.
You are keeping up a main home for your father or mother if you pay more than half the cost of keeping your parent in a rest home or home for the elderly.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000170819
Death or birth.(p24)
You may be eligible to file as head of household even if the individual who qualifies you for this filing status is born or dies during the year. If the individual is your qualifying child, the child must have lived with you for more than half the part of the year he or she was alive. If the individual is anyone else, see Publication 501.
taxmap/pub17/p17-014.htm#en_us_publink1000270844
Temporary absences.(p24)
You and your qualifying person are considered to live together even if one or both of you are temporarily absent from your home due to special circumstances such as illness, education, business, vacation, or military service. It must be reasonable to assume the absent person will return to the home after the temporary absence. You must continue to keep up the home during the absence.