I've got an odd one that I can't find a quick answer for, perhaps the tax pros here could help.
Client is a single father and his daughter lives with him.
In 2009 she was 20 and a full time student - no problem, HoH and a dependency exemption. In 2011 she was 22 and a full time student - no problem, HoH and a dependency exemption.
But for 2010 she took the entire year off and went to the Congo as a missionary. She had no job and was NOT a student at all, full or part time. Dad maintained the home she left from and returned to.
Because she was over 19 and NOT a full time time student she is NOT a qualifying child, but she MIGHT be a qualifying relative. The problem is where she lived and whether we can consider her missionary work to be a Temporary Absence AND whether a temporary absence is allowed for a qualifying RELATIVE like it is for a qualifying Child.
asked 25 Jan '12, 15:28
Based on the facts, I think the taxpayer still qualifies as head of household, and that the stay is temporary. It does not seem to matter whether the temporary absence is from a student over 19 or qualifying relative, but the law is somewhat contradictory.
A taxpayer is not disqualified merely because she moved during the year as long as the new place of abode is still her home. Also, temporary absence from the common abode of either the taxpayer or the qualifying person will not make her ineligible where the absence is due to illness, education, business, vacation, military service, or absence of a child under a custody agreement for less than six months in the tax year (Reg. 1.2-2(c)(1)). The problem here is that "temporary" is defined as less than six months. (IRC 152(c)(1)(B))
However, the temporary absence of a child during the school term does not affect an unmarried taxpayer-parent's eligibility as the head of a household. So long as it is reasonable to assume that the student will return to the household and the unmarried parent continues to maintain the household in anticipation of the child's return, the parent can continue to file as a head of household (Reg. 1.2-2(c)).
Congress also stated in a committee report that certain temporary absences, such as those for education or illness, should not be counted against taxpayers in determining whether taxpayers lived with a qualifying child for more than half the taxable year. A taxpayer or other individual does not fail to be considered a member of a household because of “temporary” absences due to special circumstances, including absences due to illness, education, business, vacation, and military service. Indefinite absences that last for more than the taxable year may be considered “temporary". For example, the IRS has ruled that an elderly woman who was indefinitely confined to a nursing home was temporarily absent from a taxpayer's household. Under the facts of the ruling, the woman had been an occupant of the household before being confined to a nursing home, the confinement had extended for several years, and it was possible that the woman would die before becoming well enough to return to the taxpayer's household. There was no intent on the part of the taxpayer or the woman to change her principal place of abode. See Rev Rul 66-28; Cynthia L. Rowe v. Comm., 128 TC 3, 128 TC 13 (Feb. 22, 2007)
answered 25 Jan '12, 19:17