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Who can claim head of household status?

You might be able to file as head of household if you meet these requirements:

  • You're unmarried or considered unmarried on the last day of 2013.
  • You paid more than 1/2 the cost of keeping up a home for the year.
  • A qualifying person lived with you in the home for more than 1/2 the year. Temporary absences, like for school, don’t count. However, if the qualifying person is your dependent parent, the parent doesn't have to live with you.

To be considered unmarried on the last day of 2013, you must meet these tests:

  • You file a separate return.
  • You paid more than 1/2 the cost of keeping up your home for 2013.
  • Your spouse didn't live in your home during the last six months of 2013. If your spouse is only temporarily absent, your spouse is considered to live in your home.  
  • Your home was the main home for more than 1/2 the year for your:
    • Child
    • Stepchild
    • Foster child

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.

To see if you qualify, see Publication 501: Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information, Table 4 at www.irs.gov.

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