Solved: My wife and I live together but we file separate. I make only a few thousand more annually. She pays more 1/2 the bills due to my debt. Can she file as HOH?
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My wife and I live together but we file separate. I make only a few thousand more annually. She pays more 1/2 the bills due to my debt. Can she file as HOH?

My wife and I live together with 2 kids. I have some tax liability, therefore we usually file separately. I do make a few thousand more annually than her, but she pays more than half our expenses due to my debt. Can she file as HOH?

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Level 15

My wife and I live together but we file separate. I make only a few thousand more annually. She pays more 1/2 the bills due to my debt. Can she file as HOH?

No, your spouse cannot file as HOH if you lived together.   Head of Household is a filing status used when one of the spouses has lived apart from the other for at least the last 6 months of the year and has been supporting a child--and is considered "unmarried."  That is not what you have described.

You lose a lot of credits when you file separate returns.  You should consider filing a joint return but having your wife file as the "injured spouse" to shield her part of the joint refund.

If you were married at the end of 2017 your filing choices are married filing jointly or married filing separately.

Married Filing Jointly is usually better, even if one spouse had little or no income. When you file a joint return, you and your spouse will each receive the $4050 personal exemption, plus the married filing jointly standard deduction of $12,700 (add $1250 for each spouse over the age of 65).  You are eligible for more credits including education credits, earned income credit, child and dependent care credit, and a larger income limit to receive the child tax credit. 

If you choose to file married filing separately, both spouses have to file the same way—either you both itemize or you both use standard deduction. Your tax rate will be higher than on a joint return. Some of the special rules for filing separately include: you cannot get earned income credit, education credits, adoption credits, or deductions for student loan interest. A higher percent of your Social Security benefits may be taxable.  In many cases you will not be able to take the child and dependent care credit. The amount you can contribute to a retirement account will be affected. If you live in a community property state, you will be required to provide additional information regarding your spouse’s income. ( Community property states:  AZ, CA, ID, LA, NV, NM, TX, WA, WI) If  you are using online TurboTax to prepare your returns, you will need to prepare two separate returns and pay twice.

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1894449-married-filing-jointly-vs-married-filing-separately

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1901162-married-filing-separately-in-community-property-states

INJURED SPOUSE

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1910698-how-do-i-file-form-8379-injured-spouse-allocation

**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**

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3 Replies
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Level 15

My wife and I live together but we file separate. I make only a few thousand more annually. She pays more 1/2 the bills due to my debt. Can she file as HOH?

No, your spouse cannot file as HOH if you lived together.   Head of Household is a filing status used when one of the spouses has lived apart from the other for at least the last 6 months of the year and has been supporting a child--and is considered "unmarried."  That is not what you have described.

You lose a lot of credits when you file separate returns.  You should consider filing a joint return but having your wife file as the "injured spouse" to shield her part of the joint refund.

If you were married at the end of 2017 your filing choices are married filing jointly or married filing separately.

Married Filing Jointly is usually better, even if one spouse had little or no income. When you file a joint return, you and your spouse will each receive the $4050 personal exemption, plus the married filing jointly standard deduction of $12,700 (add $1250 for each spouse over the age of 65).  You are eligible for more credits including education credits, earned income credit, child and dependent care credit, and a larger income limit to receive the child tax credit. 

If you choose to file married filing separately, both spouses have to file the same way—either you both itemize or you both use standard deduction. Your tax rate will be higher than on a joint return. Some of the special rules for filing separately include: you cannot get earned income credit, education credits, adoption credits, or deductions for student loan interest. A higher percent of your Social Security benefits may be taxable.  In many cases you will not be able to take the child and dependent care credit. The amount you can contribute to a retirement account will be affected. If you live in a community property state, you will be required to provide additional information regarding your spouse’s income. ( Community property states:  AZ, CA, ID, LA, NV, NM, TX, WA, WI) If  you are using online TurboTax to prepare your returns, you will need to prepare two separate returns and pay twice.

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1894449-married-filing-jointly-vs-married-filing-separately

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1901162-married-filing-separately-in-community-property-states

INJURED SPOUSE

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1910698-how-do-i-file-form-8379-injured-spouse-allocation

**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**

View solution in original post

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New Member

My wife and I live together but we file separate. I make only a few thousand more annually. She pays more 1/2 the bills due to my debt. Can she file as HOH?

Thank you so much, I’m going to look into her filing injured spouse. You were extremely helpful!
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Level 15

My wife and I live together but we file separate. I make only a few thousand more annually. She pays more 1/2 the bills due to my debt. Can she file as HOH?

You are welcome.
**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**
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