How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Ed Johnson Your Own Question

Ed Johnson
Ed Johnson, Tax Preparer
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 10760
Experience:  GPHR Cert; U.S. Treasury Tax Advocacy Panel appointee
Type Your Tax Question Here...
Ed Johnson is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My new wife lives in Maryland and I live in New York. She has

Customer Question

My new wife lives in Maryland and I live in New York. She has a child and has been filing as "Head-of-Household." As we maintain separate residences, can she maintain this filing status?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Ed Johnson replied 5 years ago.

DearCustomer

 

If you are married you have only two filing statuses: married jointly or married filing separately.

 

However one of you can claim head of household only under the following conditions.

 

1. She is considered unmarried at the end of the year.

2. She paid half the cost of keeping up a home for the year.

3. Your child lived with her more than half the year.

4. Your spouse did not live with you for the past six months at the end of the year.

 

However, this may raise a flag with the IRS. Just know that, the IRS considers the absent spouse to be part of the household if that parent is temporarily away for things like: work, school, vacation, sickness,etc.

 

This will involve the issue of where you tax home is rather than where your primary residence.

 

Generally, the primary residence is where you return home to where your children and wife are; and there for the IRS will not likely allow this on audit.

 

BotXXXXX XXXXXne, if you are returning for regular visits to visit your wife and children, the IRS is going to treat the home maintained by your spouse as your primary home.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks Ed, I just wanted to clarify one thing -- does it make a difference where my tax home is? My tax home is in New York City, whereas hers is in Maryland. My thinking is that we're financially equivalent to a divorced couple in that I'm maintaining my own residence in NYC while she maintains the residence in Maryland, and thus that it might be fair for her to still file as Head-of-Household.

Put another way, what is the IRS criteria for "living apart?" The tax court cases I've looked at seem to indicate that maintaining separate residences is the key criterion.

Thanks again,

Jay
Expert:  Ed Johnson replied 5 years ago.

DearCustomer

 

 

 

A tax home is where you live and work and can be very different from where your primary home is. The primary home can be the same as your tax home, or it can be different.

 

But here is my question to you: You get a much better deal if you file jointly unless together you are extremely high earners.

 

you can use this tax calculator to see how you might make out with different scenarios.

 

http://www.dinkytown.net/java/Tax1040.html

 

The case law will only apply to the district it was held in. The IRS has made it known that it will only apply case law by district, AND then only if it matches your circumstances exactly.

 

Can you point me to one of those cases you read so I can comment on them.

 

Here is the exact workding on the subject found in law.

 

(1) Taxpayer filed a separate return
(2) Taxpayer paid more than half the cost of keeping up taxpayer's home for the tax year.
(3) Taxpayer's spouse did not live in taxpayer's home during the last 6 months of the tax year. Spouse is considered to live with taxpayer even if he is temporarily absent due to special circumstances.
(4) Taxpayer's home was the main home of her child, stepchild, or eligible foster child for more than half the year.
(5) Taxpayer must be able to claim an exemption for the child. Taxpayer may still meet this test if she cannot claim the exemption because the noncustodial parent is allowed to claim the exemption for the child

 

http://law.gsu.edu/taxclinic/index/substantive_issues/head_of_household

 

See page 26 publication 17, Temporary Absence: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p17.pdf

 

 

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I really was impressed with the prompt response. Your expert was not only a tax expert, but a people expert!!! Her genuine and caring attitude came across in her response... T.G.W Matteson, IL
< Last | Next >
  • I really was impressed with the prompt response. Your expert was not only a tax expert, but a people expert!!! Her genuine and caring attitude came across in her response... T.G.W Matteson, IL
  • I WON!!! I just wanted you to know that your original answer gave me the courage and confidence to go into yesterday's audit ready to fight. Bonnie Chesnee, SC
  • Great service. Answered my complex tax question in detail and provided a lot of additional useful information for my specific situation. John Minneapolis, MN
  • Excellent information, very quick reply. The experts really take the time to address your questions, it is well worth the fee, for the peace of mind they can provide you with. Orville Hesperia, California
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Wallstreet Esq.

    Tax Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    570
    10 years experience
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KU/KUMI95/2013-9-30_195031_kumar.64x64.jpg Wallstreet Esq.'s Avatar

    Wallstreet Esq.

    Tax Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    570
    10 years experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CU/Cuttinggirl/2011-10-29_03719_wcrop2.64x64.jpg Wendy Reed's Avatar

    Wendy Reed

    Enrolled Agent

    Satisfied Customers:

    3052
    15+ years tax preparation and tax advice.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CATax/2009-08-04_204548_Mark.jpg Mark D's Avatar

    Mark D

    Enrolled Agent

    Satisfied Customers:

    985
    MBA, EA, Specializing in Business and Individual Tax Returns and Issues
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/IN/insearchoftheanswer/2013-8-16_0233_attorney.64x64.jpg Richard's Avatar

    Richard

    Tax Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    3229
    29 years of experience as a tax, real estate, and business attorney.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MY/MyVirtualCPA/2012-7-5_44024_cookmegan1.64x64.jpg Megan C's Avatar

    Megan C

    Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

    Satisfied Customers:

    6121
    Licensed CPA, CFE, CMA who teaches accounting courses at Master's Level
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JG/jgordosea/2012-6-7_43138_GordosVeritas.64x64.jpg jgordosea's Avatar

    jgordosea

    Enrolled Agent

    Satisfied Customers:

    2783
    I've prepared all types of taxes since 1987.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/OZ/ozaukeecpa/2012-6-7_193219_Picture1croppedandshrunk.64x64.jpg MequonCPA's Avatar

    MequonCPA

    Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

    Satisfied Customers:

    2231
    CPA, Over 30 yrs experience w/individuals and small businesses. Masters in Tax.