Head of Household Filing Status for Same-Sex Married Couples

Can two people claim Head of Household (HOH) filing status when living in the same house? The answer is, it’s theoretically possible but probably won’t work for most people, including same-sex married couples.

First a little refresher on what HOH filing status means. The basic requirements are: you are unmarried and pay more than 1/2 the cost of keeping up a home in which a qualifying person lives. “Qualifying person” usually means a child but it can also mean other relatives, if you can claim a dependency exemption for them.

Because same-sex married couples are considered unmarried for federal tax purposes, they can qualify for HOH status. And what if both spouses have kids? Can both file as HOH?

Probably not. For most same-sex married couples, only one person will be able to claim HOH status. The other spouse will have to file as single.

There have been cases where two people have claimed HOH while living in the same house, but it’s only allowed if you can prove that there are two separate family units being maintained. This is not likely to be the case with a same-sex married couple or any other couple living together in a relationship. It’s more likely in the case of people living together as roommates and leading essentially separate lives aside from sharing an address.

“This blog post, along with comments that may follow, should not be considered tax advice. Before you make final tax or financial decisions, please secure a professional tax advisor to give you advice about your unique situation. To secure Jason as your accountant, please click on the ‘Services’ link at the top of the page.”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks:

  1. Ask Jason — More About Head of Household; Deducting Plastic Surgery | Home of Jason T. Dinesen, E.A. and The Dinesen Tax Times - February 6, 2012

    [...] A: Yes. You would be considered unmarried in North Carolina and by the federal government, so could qualify for head of household on both your state and federal tax returns, if you meet the other head of household requirements. You can find more Dinesen Tax Times coverage of head of household filing status here and here. [...]