Can I claim head of household in years I don't claim my daughter?

April 12, 2006

Subject:  Claiming head of household
Date:  Mon, 06 Mar 2006
From:  Eric

My ex-wife and I alternate years to claim the dependent exemption for my five-year-old daughter.

Can I claim head of household status for the years that I do not claim her as a dependent?




Date:  Mon, 03 Apr 2006

Hello Eric,

First, understand that you and your wife can't both claim head of household status based on your daughter as a "qualifying child" for the same tax year.

These rules are tricky because of recent tax law changes.

In order to qualify, you must provide more than one-half of your daughter's support for the taxable year, and she must have lived with you for more than one-half of the tax year. (Given – she must not have provided more than one-half of her own support for the year.)

See IRS Publication 501 at

Good luck!
Mike Gray

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