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Robin D.
Robin D., Senior Tax Advisor 4
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 13605
Experience:  15years with H & R Block. Divisional leader, Instructor
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If you are married and living separately, both with children,

Resolved Question:

If you are married and living separately, both with children, can you both claim head of household?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Robin D. replied 5 years ago.

Robin D :

Hello and thank you for using Just Answer

Robin D :

You can claim the Head of Household (HOH) filing status on your tax return if you are unmarried (or can be considered so), have cared for a dependent for over half the year, and paid more than half the cost of maintaining a home

Robin D :

You are "considered unmarried" for tax purposes if on the last of the year you are:



  • unmarried,

  • legally separated from your spouse under a divorce or separate maintenance decree, or

  • married but lived apart from your spouse for at least the last six months of the year.

Robin D :

So, yes, both could be able to claim HOH.

Robin D :

Did that cover your question?

Customer:

I have filled out financial aid for school and the school is stating that I must do an ameneded tax form with only one of claming head of house hold. It clearly shows on my taxes that my address is different than of my husbands. Should I make the advisors more aware of this just incase they are unaware?

Robin D :

This is simple tax law. I am not sure why they would advise that you are required to amend your return. You can give them the head of household filing requirements as listed in IRS Publication 501
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p501.pdf

Did they give some specific reason that they felt your return was not correct? Did you live separately from your spouse for at least 6 months of the year?

Customer:

yes, I did live elsewhere for 6 months

Robin D :

If you and your spouse lived apart and you each met the requirement for a qualifying person then I am stymied.
If your spouse were a Nonresident Alien then they would not be allowed to claim HOH if you chose to not file jointly, but you still could.

Robin D :

What reason did they give?

Customer:

just that we both could not claim head of household

Robin D :

If you were not both claiming the same qualifying person (but then the IRS would have rejected your return when you filed) and your spouse is not a Nonresident Alien (then they would need to change their return) then I cannot see why they would advise on this.

Robin D :

The definitions used by the US Department of Education and the IRS are not perfectly aligned, so it is possible that an apparent discrepancy will be resolved with no changes. For example, the IRS generally considers an informal separation (as opposed to a legal separation or divorce) to still be married and eligible for filing under either married filing jointly or married filing separate statuses. On the FAFSA, informal separation, legal separation and divorce all qualify for separated status. If the family claims to be informally separated, the school will want to see documentation that the couple did not cohabit (i.e., maintained separate residences), as no states permit a couple with an informal separation to continue living in the same house.

Robin D :

The last is directly from Finacial Aid
http://www.finaid.org/fafsa/headofhousehold.phtml

Robin D :

Show them the proof they require but do not amend your return if you fit the requirements for the IRS.

Robin D :

Then show them their own website info.

Customer:

I guess I will redirect their attention to the address and let the know about the IRS 105 or the fact that my taxes were not rejected, and go from there . Thanks you were a great help

Robin D :

You are welcome and you can always come back here even after you click ACCEPT.
Read all the info yourself on their site before you contact them.

Robin D. and other Tax Specialists are ready to help you

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