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JamesStone, Analyst, Programmer, Writer
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Experience:  BA English Teaching, Data Analyst 7 Years
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I have not worked in over a year. My boyfriend supports me

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I have not worked in over a year. My boyfriend supports me and my 2 daughters. I was told that he cant claim head of household or my oldest for the child credit. The only income I get is from child support. Is this a new law?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  JamesStone replied 6 years ago.
According to IRS publication 501 for 2010, the head of household requirements are very strict. While you and your daughters (assuming your daughters were 18 or younger and had gross income < $3650 for the year) could be claimed as dependents, but they won't meet the head of household requirements for your boyfriend.

Essentially a non-relative no longer meets the "qualifying person" requirement for head of household status. Essentially a child being used must be under 19 and either be a birth child, stepchild, adopted child, or eligible foster child.

They would be considered a "qualifying relative" but head of household goes a step further and says they must meet the standard of a "relative who does not have to live with you" test, which is basically somebody related by blood, marriage, adoption, or foster care assignment.

Page 8, column 2 of the publication (found here:

Example 3 - girlfriend: your girlfriend lived with you all year. Even though she may be your qualified relative (with other standards met), she is not your qualifying person for head of household purposes because she is not related to you under "relatives who do not have to live with you" test.

Example 4 - girlfriend's child: the facts are the same as in example 3.

It sounds as if he would be able to possibly claim 4 exemptions (1 for himself, 1 for you, and 1 for each daughter, without knowing further details...there is a easy to understand table on page 12 where you can see the logic behind considering the 3 of you as qualifying relatives), but not head of household by these rules. I'm not sure what the circumstances are with your eldest daughter, but I'm guessing it could be related to either her gross income, age, or level of support.

From how I understand it, a large amount of changes went into effect in 2005 pertaining to head of household.

To further support this, California has created a "self test" on their website which is in line with the IRS publication.

I hope this answers your question, I know it isn't great news.
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