The head of household filing status for taxes allows you to claim a higher standard deduction. If you're like most, you might not know much more than that, except that it has something to do with having a qualifying person you are responsible for in your house. People who file as head of household usually pay a lower tax rate than those whole file as single or married filing separately. Since you are living with your girlfriend, it sounds like a great way to get a tax break. Unfortunately, the head of household filing status is not that simple. Even if you can claim your girlfriend as your dependent, you will not be able to file head of household.
Not everyone who is your dependent will qualify you to file head of household status.
Head of Household Requirements
While you may under certain circumstances be able to claim your girlfriend as a dependent, you will not be able to file as head of household simply because she lives with you. There are three requirements that determine head of household status. You might meet two of these requirements -- being unmarried and paying more than half the cost of your living expenses for the tax year -- but you won't be able to meet the qualifying person requirement.
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How to Determine a Qualifying Person
A qualifying person must meet all the IRS requirements for being your dependent, but she also must be one of the following types of individuals to give you head of household status:
- Your child or adopted child.
- A foster child assigned to you by the courts.
- Your sibling or step-sibling.
- Your mother, father, niece, nephew, even grandparent.
While you may provide enough financial support to claim your girlfriend as your dependent, she cannot be a qualifying person because she is not a family member.