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Head of household and parents who live and work in different states

Stamford, CT |

I have CT ID and live and work in CT. My husband and my son-he is 21 years old- live together in the apartment in CA, they work in CA and have CA ID.My son earned only $1,200 in 2011.My husband pays rent,They lived together more the 8 month.Can my husband file head of household for 2011 tax-return and my son will be qualifying relative,who earned less than $3,700? And can my son also file his own tax-return for 2011 if he will be in dad's tax-return? Can I (if my husband will file head of household for 2011) file tax-return as married,filing separately?

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Filed under: Credit Tax law
Attorney answers 2


No he generally cannot claim Head of Household with a 21 year old. Your son is no longer a qualifying child unless he is enrolled in school, or permanently disabled.

Since it is a "qualifying relative," if he does qualify as such, only the exemption can be claimed. Head of Household, the EIC, Child Tax Credit, and other things associated with a "qualifying child" no longer apply unless he is enrolled in school or disabled.

If 1) you guys have another child under the age of 18 that lived with one of you, or your child was in school, and 2) you did not live together for the last six months of the year, you can claim Head of Household under an exception. Otherwise you must file as Married Filing Jointly or Seperately because you were married on the last day of the year, and you are not legally seperated.

Christopher Larson
Insight Law


I agree with attorney Larson. This is a very complex set of facts and it would be a good idea for you to retain a CPA to prepare your returns to make sure you follow the law correctly.

Any individual seeking legal advice for their own situation should retain their own legal counsel as this response provides information that is general in nature and not specific to any person's unique situation. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Advice given in this response cannot be used to eliminate penalties with the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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