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J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax 2013: For Preparing Your 2012 Tax Return by J.K. Lasser Institute

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1.12 Qualifying as Head of Household

You can file as “head of household” for 2012 if you are unmarried at the end of 2012 and you maintained a household for your child, parent, or other qualifying relative. You must be a U.S. citizen or resident (18.1) for the entire year. Tax rates are lower for a head of household than for a person filing as single (1.2) and the standard deduction is higher (Chapter 13). If you are married but for the last half of 2012 you lived apart from your spouse, you may be treated as unmarried and able to qualify for head of household tax rates and standard deduction, which are more favorable than those for a married person filing separately; see Test 1 below.

Head of household tests.

You must meet both of these tests to qualify as a head of household:

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image Filing Tip
Advantages of Head of Household Status
Tax rates are lower for a head of household than for those filing as single. The standard deduction is also higher. For a married person who lived apart from his or her spouse during the last half of the year, qualifying as a head of household allows use of tax rates that are more favorable than those for married persons filing separately.
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1. You were unmarried at the end of the year or treated as unmarried.
2. You paid more than half of the year’s maintenance costs for the home of a qualifying person. A qualifying ...

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