You may consider yourself the head of your household, but does that mean you can file as head of household for your taxes? Not necessarily. There are a few rules that apply before you can check that box for the head of household filing status.
What Head of Household Means in Tax Terms
In general, being able to choose head of household boils down to a few things. If you can answer yes to all of the following questions, then you can most likely file your taxes as head of household.
- Were you unmarried on the last day of the year? If yes, then go to the next question. If no, there are some circumstances where you may still be able to file as head of household.
- Did your child or dependent parent or other relative live with you for more than half the year? If yes, you guessed it, you can go to the next question.
- Did you pay for more than half the expenses for keeping up your home? If yes to this question and all of the above, the head of household filing status might be right for you.
*Keep in mind: Only one person can claim a qualifying child on their tax return even if that child meets the requirements for two people (i.e., separated/divorced parents).
There are, of course, more detailed rules that apply to all of the above, so if you’d like to learn more about the head of household filing status, reach out to one of our tax preparers, and we can walk you through all the requirements.
Are There Advantages to Filing Head of Household?
If you qualify for head of household, your tax rate may be lower and your standard deduction may be higher, resulting in an overall lower tax liability. So, yes, if all of the above applies to you, the head of household filing status may have its advantages.
What About My California State Filing Status?
If you file as head of household on your federal taxes, then you will need to do the same on your California state taxes. All of the same rules apply to the California head of household status as they do to the Federal one.
Ready to file your taxes as head of household or have more questions? Contact one of our tax preparers today.