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State of California Franchise Tax Board

Head of Household (HOH) Self-Test


Although you may be the head of your house, you may not qualify for the HOH filing status under state and federal tax laws. The legal requirements are more complicated for the filing status than simply being the head of the house. To qualify for HOH filing status, you must have a qualifying person who is related to you and meets the requirements to be either a qualifying child or qualifying relative. You must also pay more than half the cost of keeping up your home in which you and your qualifying person lived for more than half the year.

If you use the HOH filing status and are not qualified to do so, you may be subject to additional tax, interest, and any penalties that may apply.

Benefits of the Head of Household Filing Status

The HOH filing status provides two benefits if you qualify:

  • A lower tax rate.
  • A higher standard deduction than either the single or married/RDP filing separately filing status.

If you are married or a registered domestic partner (RDP), the married/RDP filing jointly filing status normally provides the lowest tax rate and highest standard deduction.

You can complete an online head of household self-test for 2014 below.


Complete the self-test to see if you qualify to use the HOH filing status. To proceed, select the appropriate option and continue.

As of the last day of the year, you were:

(e.g., never married, never registered as a domestic partner with the California Secretary of State) or widowed in a previous year.


If you incorrectly claimed the HOH filing status on your federal tax return, amend your federal return to claim your correct filing status. Then file your California tax return using your correct filing status.

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