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Filing Status

Question: If I lived apart from my spouse from July 10 to December 31 but was not divorced or legally separated at the end of the year, can I file as head of household? Will my filing status allow me to claim a credit for childcare expenses and the earned income tax credit if I have a qualifying child?

Answer:

You cannot file as head of household because you were married and were not considered unmarried at the end of the tax year. Unless legally separated, you are considered unmarried at the end of a tax year only if your spouse is not a member of your household for the last 6 months of the tax year.

Your filing status for the year will be either married filing separately or married filing jointly.

  • If you use the filing status of married filing separately, you may not claim the earned income tax credit or the credit for childcare expenses.
  • If you file a joint return with your spouse, you may be eligible to claim these credits.

See What is My Filing Status? and Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information, for information about filing status.

Additional Information:


Category: Filing Requirements, Status, Dependents, Exemptions
Subcategory: Filing Status

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The OMB number for this study is 1545-1432.
If you have any comments regarding this study, please write to:
IRS, Tax Products Coordinating Committee
SE:W:CAR:MP:T:T:SP
1111 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20224