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If I'm separated from my spouse, can I file as head of household to get the EIC?

You can file as head of household if you meet the tests and were unmarried or considered unmarried for the year.

You're considered unmarried if you meet these tests:

  • You file a separate return.
  • You paid more than half the cost of keeping up the home for the year.
  • Your spouse didn't live in the home during the last six months of the year.
  • Your home was the main home of one of these for more than half of the year:
    • Your child
    • Stepchild
    • Eligible foster child
  • You must be able to claim an exemption for your child. This applies even if you don't claim the exemption since you released the child's exemption to the noncustodial parent.

If you file as head of household, you can claim the Earned Income Credit (EIC) if you otherwise qualify for it. However, you can't claim the EIC if you’re married filing separately.

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