Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Level Basic Advanced Military International

Filing Status

Filing Status Requirements

"Considered Unmarried"

Some married taxpayers who live apart from their spouses and provide for dependent children may be "considered unmarried" for tax purposes. These taxpayers are permitted to file as Head of Household and receive the benefit of lower tax amounts if they

  • File a return, separate from their spouse, for the tax year.
  • Paid more than half the cost of keeping up their home for the year. See the Worksheet for Determining Support in the Volunteer Resource Guide.
  • Lived apart from their spouse during the entire last six months of the tax year. The spouse is considered to have lived in the home even if temporarily absent due to special circumstances, such as military service or education.
  • Provided the main home for more than half the year of a dependent child, stepchild, or foster child placed by an authorized agency. This test is met if the taxpayer cannot claim the exemption only because the noncustodial parent can claim the child using the rules described in Publication 17, Personal Exemptions and Dependents.
More Information

For these married taxpayers, "qualifying child" includes biological, adopted, foster, and stepchildren, but does not include grandchildren, brother, sister or their descendants (for example, niece, nephew). Only unmarried taxpayers may be able to use a grandchild, niece or nephew as a qualifying child for Head of Household status.