I have a client who has continued to claiming head of household for the years she had release the exemption to the noncustodial parent. Am I wrong by advising her that she is also releasing her ability to claim head of household, to those years?

asked 20 Jan '11, 19:52

Eric%201's gravatar image

Eric 1
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edited 22 Jan '11, 01:37

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TaxQueries ♦♦

Thank your answers

(20 Jan '11, 21:36) Eric 1

You are wrong. I know this is confusing, Head of Household is not dependent on dependency exemption except in specific cases. I cut and pasted some info from IRS website:

Head of Household You may be able to file as head of household if you meet all the following requirements.

You are unmarried or “considered unmarried” on the last day of the year.

You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year.

A “qualifying person” lived with you in the home for more than half the year (except for temporary absences, such as school). However, if the “qualifying person” is your dependent parent, he or she does not have to live with you. See Special rule for parent , later, under Qualifying Person.

Qualifying person is explained here: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/ch02.html

Your child, for whom you provided more than half of their support is your "qualified child" regardless of claim of exemption.


answered 20 Jan '11, 20:50

Cherry%20Comstock%203's gravatar image

Cherry Comst...
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The taxpayer is correct. Even though your client can not claim the Exemption, Child Tax Credit, or Education Credits, that same child can be used for (1) qualifying person for Head of Household filing status (2) qualifying child for Earned Income Credit (3) Child and Dependent Care Credit.


answered 20 Jan '11, 21:00

Eric's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%

Hi Eric,

It took me a while to wrap my head around this one when I first started because the very substance of the HOH status is contingent upon having a dependent. When the custodial parent releases the exemption to the non-custodial parent, that is all that is being released.

Think of it as if the exemption is literally traveling from one return to another, however the status isn't changing -- on either return.

For a concrete visual example, look on the front of the 1040/1040A. When you check HOH status, read the text below, as well as the text to the right of box 6 (Exemptions). Although the exemption won't be computed on the second page, the taxpayer gets the benefit of being taxed as HOH, rather than Single.

Ahhhhh the intracacies of taxes : )

Hope you have a wonderful season!


answered 21 Jan '11, 02:44

Kristy%20M.%20W.'s gravatar image

Kristy M. W.
accept rate: 4%

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Asked: 20 Jan '11, 19:52

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Last updated: 22 Jan '11, 01:37