There is no tax filing status that confuses taxpayers more than the one called head of household.
In order to file as head of household, you must meet several requirements:
- Be unmarried
- Pay more than half of the costs of supporting your household
- Live with other qualifying family members for whom you provide support for more than half of the year. Some examples of qualifying family members include a dependent child, grandchild, brother, sister, grandparent, or anyone else you can claim as an exemption.
If you do not meet all of these requirements, you are not eligible to claim the head-of-household filing status.
Significant Financial Benefits for Heads of Household
If you qualify for head-of-household filing status, there are significant financial benefits in store for you. Not only will you receive a much more favorable tax rate than you would if you were to file as a single taxpayer, but taxpayers who file as head of household can claim a much higher standard deduction when filing their taxes.3
The standard deduction for married couples filing jointly for tax year 2020 is $24,800. For single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately, the standard deduction is $12,400 for tax year 2020. For heads of household, the standard deduction will be $18,650.
And the numbers for tax year 2021: 4The standard deduction for married couples filing jointly is $25,100. For single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately, the standard deduction is $12,550. For heads of household, the standard deduction is $18,800.