Question

My mother lives with me and I pay all her expenses, but she receives some income from Social Security. Can I claim my mother as a dependent and file as head of household?

Answer

You can claim head of household (HOH) filing status if all of these apply:

  • You’re 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, which includes a parent, lived with you for more than half the year. If your qualifying person is your mother, she doesn’t have to live with you for more than half the year. However, you must be able to claim your mother as a dependent.

For your mother to be your dependent:

  • She must have gross income of less than $4,050 for the year. Count only the taxable portion of her Social Security benefits.
  • You must have provided more than half of your mother’s total support for the year. For this, count all your mother’s Social Security benefits that went toward her support, not just the taxable portion.

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