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Tax News
What’s new for head of household filers in 2008?

The big filing status news for the upcoming filing season is that registered domestic partners (RDPs) are treated the same as a married couple for tax purposes. Effective January 1, 2008, RDPs must file their 2007 California income tax returns using either the joint or the separate filing status. RDPs may use the head of household (HOH) filing status if they are in the process of ending their relationship and they meet the requirements to be "considered not in a registered domestic partnership."

General rules

To qualify for the head of household filing status as an RDP, the taxpayer must meet all of the following general requirements. The RDP:

  • On the last day of the year, met the requirements to be considered not in a registered domestic partnership (did not live with the other RDP at any time during the last six months of the year).
  • Paid more than one-half the costs of keeping up his or her home for the year.
  • Kept up his or her home that was the main home for the RDP and for the RDP’s birth child, stepchild, adopted child or eligible foster child, who lived with the RDP for more than half the year.
    • And, the child met the requirements to be a qualifying child or qualifying relative.
  • Was entitled to a dependent exemption credit for the child.
  • Was not a nonresident alien at any time during the year.

Check these reference sources to help you determine if your clients, including your RDP clients, qualify for HOH filing status:

  • For more information on RDPs, go to our Website, and search for "Publication 737" (Tax Information for Registered Domestic Partners) in the search window.
  • FTB Publication 1540, California Head of Household, provides detailed information. It includes general requirements, detailed self-tests, definitions of pertinent terms, and a list of frequently asked questions. You can download this form from our Website, or request that we mail it to you by calling (800) 338-0505.
  • The HOH Webpage has the same detailed information as Publication 1540. You can find it on our homepage at, located on the left side under "online tools."
  • The 2007 personal income tax booklets provide general rules for qualifying as head of household.