Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Head Of Household-

If I moved out of my house on July 10, but was not divorced at the end of the year, can I file as head of household and take the earned income credit if I have a minor child? Can I also claim child care expenses?

You do not qualify for the head of household filing status because you and your spouse have not lived apart for the last 6 months of the taxable year and are not considered unmarried. Your filing status for the year will either be married filing separately, or married filing jointly. If it is married filing separately, you will not qualify for the Earned Income Credit and cannot claim a credit based on child care expenses. If you file a joint return with your spouse, you may be eligible to claim these credits. See Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses and Publication 596, Earned Income Credit

If you qualify to file as head of household, your tax rate usually will be lower than the rates for single or married filing separately. You will also receive a higher standard deduction than if you file as single or married filing separately.

How to file: If you file as head of household, you can use either Form 1040A or Form 1040. Indicate your choice of this filing status by checking the box on line 4 of either form. Use the Head of a household column of the Tax Table or Section D of the Tax Computation Worksheet to figure your tax.
Considered Unmarried
To qualify for head of household status, you must be either unmarried or considered unmarried on the last day of the year. You are considered unmarried on the last day of the tax year if you meet all the following tests.
*You file a separate return (defined earlier under Joint Return After Separate Returns).
*You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home for the tax year.
*Your spouse did not live in your home during the last 6 months of the tax year. Your spouse is considered to live in your home even if he or she is temporarily absent due to special circumstances.
*Your home was the main home of your child, stepchild, or foster child for more than half the year. (See Home of qualifying person, later, for rules applying to a child's birth, death, or temporary absence during the year.)
*You must be able to claim an exemption for the child. However, you meet this test if you cannot claim the exemption only because the noncustodial parent can claim the child using the rules described later in Children of divorced or separated parents under Qualifying Child or in Support Test for Children of Divorced or Separated Parents under Qualifying Relative. The general rules for claiming an exemption for a dependent are explained later under Exemptions for Dependents.

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