Head of Household (HOH) Qualification Requirements

The law allowing this filing status has very specific rules. You must meet all of the following requirements:


Step 1 - Determine your marital or RDP status (A1 or B1) as of the last day of the year.

A1.  Unmarried and not an RDP (if you fall into one of the categories in A1, see table A2 to determine your qualifying person).

For head of household purposes, unmarried and not an RDP means one of the following:

  • Never married and never registered as a domestic partner.
  • By December 31, you were divorced under a final decree or your registered domestic partnership was legally terminated.
  • Legally separated under a final decree by December 31.
  • Marriage or registered domestic partnership annulled under a final decree.
  • Widowed (spouse/RDP died before January 1).

B1.  Considered Unmarried or Considered Not in a Registered Domestic Partnership (if you fall into one of the categories in B1, please see table B2 to determine your qualifying person).

  • For head of household purposes, considered unmarried means you were legally married as of December 31, but were ending your relationship and you lived apart from your spouse at all times during the last six months of the year.
  • Considered not in a registered domestic partnership means you were still registered as a domestic partner as of December 31, but were ending your relationship and lived apart from your RDP at all times during the last six months of the year.

Step 2 - Determine your qualifying person (A2 or B2) based on your martial or RDP status as of the last day of the year.

A2. Qualifying Person Requirements for Individuals who are Unmarried and not an RDP.

Your qualifying person must be one of the following:

Your birth child, grandchild, stepchild, adopted child, eligible foster child, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of such an individual, who lived with you for more than half of the year, who did not pay more than half of his or her own support during the year, and who:

  1. Did not reach the age of 19 by December 31, or
  2. Was a full-time student who did not reach the age of 24 by December 31.

OR

Your birth child, grandchild, stepchild, adopted child, eligible foster child, or a descendant of such an individual, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, parent, grandparent, stepparent, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law who lived with you for more than half of the year; or your blood-related uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece who lived with you for more than half of the year. In addition:

  1. You must have provided more than half of the individual’s support for the year, and
  2. The individual’s gross income for the year must be less than the federal exemption amount for the year.

B2. Qualifying Person Requirements for Individuals Who are Considered Unmarried or Considered Not in a Registered Domestic Partnership.

Your qualifying person must be one of the following:

Your birth child, stepchild, adopted child, or eligible foster child who lived with you for more than half of the year, who did not pay more than half of his or her own support during the year, and who:

  1. Did not reach the age of 19 by December 31, or
  2. Was a full-time student who did not reach the age of 24 by December 31.

OR

Your birth child, stepchild, adopted child, or eligible foster child who lived with you for more than half of the year. In addition:

  1. You must have provided more than half of the individual's support for the year, and
  2. The individual's gross income for the year must be less than the federal exemption amount for the year.