Head of Household (HOH) is a filing status option for taxpayers filing U.S. tax returns. Other filing status options include Single, Married Filing Separately, Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child.
Your filing status will determine many things on your tax return and should be determined first. Your filing status affects your filing requirements, standard deduction, what tax bracket you will fall into and how much you get for certain tax credits, like the Earned Income Credit.
In order to file as Head of Household you must be unmarried by the end of the year, you must have paid at least 50% of the cost of maintaining your household and you must have a qualifying dependent.
A qualifying dependent is usually your child who is not over 18 years old by the end of the year, but can also be a dependent parent. A qualifying person must have lived with you for at least half of the year, except under certain circumstances.
If your dependent is your parent, they don’t have to live in your home as long as you paid at least 50% of the cost of maintaining their household. If your qualifying dependent was temporarily absent from the home for certain reasons, you may still claim them for HOH purposes.
Head of Household filers will generally receive a lower tax rate and bigger tax credits than those filing as Single or Married Filing Separately, when comparing similar incomes. This can either save you money or put money in your pocket.