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Frequently Asked Tax Questions

Filing Requirements, Status, Dependents, Exemptions - Filing Status

  1. If I lived apart from my spouse from July 10 to December 31, but was not divorced or legally separated at the end of the year, can I file as head of household? Will my filing status allow me to claim a credit for child care expenses and the earned income credit if I have a qualifying child?
  2. If the parents of a year old child never married but live together with the child for the tax year, and both contribute to the cost of maintaining the household for the child and themselves, may they both file as head of household?
  3. For head of household filing status, do you have to claim a child as a dependent to qualify?
  4. I am divorced with one child. This year my ex-spouse, who is the noncustodial parent, will claim an exemption for the child. Can I qualify as head of household?

Rev. date: 08/04/2012

If I lived apart from my spouse from July 10 to December 31, but was not divorced or legally separated at the end of the year, can I file as head of household? Will my filing status allow me to claim a credit for child care expenses and the earned income credit if I have a qualifying child?

You do not qualify for head of household filing status because you and your spouse have not lived apart for the last 6 months of the taxable year and are not considered unmarried.

Rev. date: 08/04/2012

If the parents of a year old child never married but live together with the child for the tax year, and both contribute to the cost of maintaining the household for the child and themselves, may they both file as head of household?

Only one taxpayer may claim the child as a qualifying child for purposes of filing as head of household.

Rev. date: 08/04/2012

For head of household filing status, do you have to claim a child as a dependent to qualify?

In certain circumstances, you do not have to claim the child as a dependent to qualify for head of household filing status; for example, a custodial parent may be able to claim head of household filing status even if he or she released a claim to exemption for the child.

Rev. date: 08/04/2012

I am divorced with one child. This year my ex-spouse, who is the noncustodial parent, will claim an exemption for the child. Can I qualify as head of household?

   You can file as head of household even though you do not claim an exemption for your child if you meet all of the following requirements:
  1. You are unmarried or considered unmarried on the last day of the year.
  2. You paid more than half of the cost for the year of keeping up a home for you and your child.
  3. Your child is your qualifying child for purposes other than the dependency exemption and the child tax credit.