Tax guide

Can a married person claim the Head of Household filing status?

Updated for filing 2021 tax returns

The rules for filing with the Head of Household status are designed to help single persons with dependents, but in some cases, married persons can claim the head of household filing status.

To qualify for the head of household filing status while married, you must be considered unmarried on the last day of the year, which means you must:

  • File your taxes separately from your spouse
  • Pay more than half of the household expenses
  • Not have lived with your spouse for the last 6 months of the year
  • Provide the principal home of a qualifying dependent
  • Claim said dependent on your tax return

If you meet all of these requirements, you may file as head of household while married.

Filing with the head of household status is beneficial for increasing how much of the Earned Income Credit (EIC) you qualify for, since having a child dependent qualifies you for a greater tax break—you can read more about filing as head of household in our Tax Guide.

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