Question

I separated from my spouse in 2019. In this impending divorce and tax filing scenario, do I qualify to file as head of household (HOH)?

Answer

Maybe. With a head of household divorce situation, if you’re separated from your spouse, you must meet these conditions to file as head of household:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or a resident alien for the entire year.
  • You must not be married or be considered unmarried on the last day of the year.
  • You must be entitled to a dependency exemption for the qualifying person even if you waived the exemption.
  • You’re considered unmarried for head of household purposes if:
    • You’re single, legally divorced, or separated under a final decree of divorce or separation.
    • You live apart from your spouse every day for the last six months of the year. You and your spouse are considered to have lived together even if one or both of you are temporarily absent from your home. If you and your spouse plan to share a common household in the future, you can’t be considered head of household.
    • Your spouse was a nonresident alien at any time during the year, and you don’t choose to treat him or her as a resident alien.
    • You do both of these:
      • File a separate return
      • Maintain over half of the cost of a household during the entire taxable year that was the main home of a:

Costs of maintaining your home include:

  • Rent
  • Mortgage payments
  • Real estate taxes
  • Utility charges
  • Food eaten in the home

These aren’t considered costs of maintaining the home:

  • Education and medical expenses
  • Clothing
  • Life insurance

Related Topics

Related Resources

Deducting Pre-Tax Premiums

Learn whether you can deduct pre-tax premiums on your taxes with advice from the tax experts at H&R Block.

What’s my tax filing status after death of my spouse?

Your options for your tax filing status if your spouse dies will change depending on how long ago they passed away. For example, you can generally use married filing jointly in the year your spouse passes. Then in the next two years, you can file as a qualifying widower if you meet certain requirements.

Accidentally Filed As Head Of Household

Accidentally filed as head of household, but a different status doesn’t change your refund. Do you need to amend your filing status? Learn more at H&R Block.

Premium Tax Credit

Learn more from our tax experts at H&R Block about the premium tax credit and how to receive it as an advance credit or claim it as a refundable credit.