Solved: My husband and I are married. We can't afford a divorce or to live separate. All bills are divided. We don't even have an account together. I have a son. Can I file HOH?
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My husband and I are married. We can't afford a divorce or to live separate. All bills are divided. We don't even have an account together. I have a son. Can I file HOH?

 
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Level 12

My husband and I are married. We can't afford a divorce or to live separate. All bills are divided. We don't even have an account together. I have a son. Can I file HOH?

Probably not, given your living situation..  The IRS spells out the HoH advantages and requirements in Pub 504 (I've added emphasis on the 3rd bullet point to the "Considered unmarried" definition):

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Head of Household

Requirements.   You may be able to file as head of household if you meet all the following requirements.
  • You are unmarried or “considered unmarried” on the last day of the year.

  • You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year.

  • 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 doesn’t have to live with you. See Special rule for parent ..., later, under Qualifying person.

Considered unmarried.   You are considered unmarried on the last day of the tax year if you meet all the following tests.
  • You file a separate return. A separate return includes a return claiming married filing separately, single, or head of household filing status.
  • You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home for the tax year.
  • Your spouse didn’t 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 ..., later.
  • Your home was the main home of your child, stepchild, or foster child for more than half the year. (See Qualifying person ..., later, for rules applying to a child's birth, death, or temporary absence during the year.)
  • You must be able to claim an exemption for the child. However, you meet this test if you can’t claim the exemption only because the noncustodial parent can claim the child using the rule described later in Special rule for divorced or s... under Exemptions for Dependents. The general rules for claiming an exemption for a dependent are shown in Table 3.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The publication has further discussion and provides examples of various situations.  You should probably read through this for a complete understanding of when you can file HoH. 

https://www.irs.gov/publications/p504/ar02.html#en_US_2016_publink1000175857

Tom Young

View solution in original post

5 Replies
Level 15

My husband and I are married. We can't afford a divorce or to live separate. All bills are divided. We don't even have an account together. I have a son. Can I file HOH?

Did you live together at any time during the last six months of the year?
Level 15

My husband and I are married. We can't afford a divorce or to live separate. All bills are divided. We don't even have an account together. I have a son. Can I file HOH?

"We can't afford.....to live separate."
Level 12

My husband and I are married. We can't afford a divorce or to live separate. All bills are divided. We don't even have an account together. I have a son. Can I file HOH?

Probably not, given your living situation..  The IRS spells out the HoH advantages and requirements in Pub 504 (I've added emphasis on the 3rd bullet point to the "Considered unmarried" definition):

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Head of Household

Requirements.   You may be able to file as head of household if you meet all the following requirements.
  • You are unmarried or “considered unmarried” on the last day of the year.

  • You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year.

  • 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 doesn’t have to live with you. See Special rule for parent ..., later, under Qualifying person.

Considered unmarried.   You are considered unmarried on the last day of the tax year if you meet all the following tests.
  • You file a separate return. A separate return includes a return claiming married filing separately, single, or head of household filing status.
  • You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home for the tax year.
  • Your spouse didn’t 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 ..., later.
  • Your home was the main home of your child, stepchild, or foster child for more than half the year. (See Qualifying person ..., later, for rules applying to a child's birth, death, or temporary absence during the year.)
  • You must be able to claim an exemption for the child. However, you meet this test if you can’t claim the exemption only because the noncustodial parent can claim the child using the rule described later in Special rule for divorced or s... under Exemptions for Dependents. The general rules for claiming an exemption for a dependent are shown in Table 3.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The publication has further discussion and provides examples of various situations.  You should probably read through this for a complete understanding of when you can file HoH. 

https://www.irs.gov/publications/p504/ar02.html#en_US_2016_publink1000175857

Tom Young

View solution in original post

Level 15

My husband and I are married. We can't afford a divorce or to live separate. All bills are divided. We don't even have an account together. I have a son. Can I file HOH?

If you can't afford to live separate, you probably can't afford to file anyway other than Married Filing Jointly. You can use this tool to compare the results of filing different ways: <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/calculators/taxcaster/?s=1">https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-to...>
Level 15

My husband and I are married. We can't afford a divorce or to live separate. All bills are divided. We don't even have an account together. I have a son. Can I file HOH?

It's unlikely that you can file as HOH since you live together.  From a tax perspective, you are better off filing Married Joint anyway. Do you live in a Community Property State?

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