4 Ways to Avoid Violation of Head of Household

By: Jamie Waggoner

In this blog post, we are going to discuss four ways how to avoid illegally claiming Head of Household on your taxes.

This happens quite often. Sometimes people do it on purpose. Sometimes people don’t know what’s being done by their tax preparer.

The reason so many people claim Head of Household incorrectly is because, well, claiming Head of Household, you are eligible for more tax refund money than by choosing another filing status. 

The consequences, however, can be more trouble than its worth.

Understanding Your Responsibility as a Taxpayer

Many people think that if they “look the other way” as their tax preparer puts them down as head of household and they didn’t understand the rules, then that it means the tax preparer is at fault if the taxpayer gets in trouble.

That is not the case, at all.

The tax preparer isn’t responsible, you as the taxpayer are 100% responsible for all of the contents of your tax return.

Two Heads of Household at One Address

One common way that this incident could happen is if two people claim head of household, but are living at the same address.

This is something to discuss with the people you are living with currently to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.  

Head of Household means that you are paying more than 50% of the costs of the home—so if two people are claiming they both pay more than 50%, it becomes a little bit of a “stretch” just from a math perspective. ?

Legally Married and Living in Same House

Often people discover that if you’re married but “file separately” you can (in some cases) get a bigger tax refund. 

This often involves one person claiming Head of Household, or even both spouses claiming it. 

If you are legally married, and live in the same house, you’re supposed to file either Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately, not Head of Household.  

Head of Household for Your Own Household, But No “Qualifying Person”

Some people think they are head of household because they live by themselves and pay all their own bills.

Well first of all congrats for paying all your bills.  But, unfortunately, you must have a dependent (or another “qualifying person”) to claim head of household.

The More than 50% Rule

To claim head of household, you must pay more than 50% of the total household expenses.

This is something to remember when discussing with your partners, roommates, or spouses.

Ignorance Is Expensive

Violating the head of household part of taxes is one of many mistakes that can happen when not knowing anything about taxes or how to do them.  

You can become subject to all sorts of penalties, interest, and other major hassles.

This is why Pronto Tax School is here for you, to teach about taxes and even license you to be a professional tax preparer if you so desire.

If you are ready to make sure you won’t be that shmuck that doesn’t know anything about taxes, then click here to take a course about taxes that will drop some serious tax knowledge on you; unlike that underwater basket-weaving course you recently completed, learning about taxes is a skill you’ll actually use, and will benefit you all throughout your life.

About the writer:

Jamie Waggoner is a Communication Major at University of North Carolina-Wilmington (UNCW). Jamie’s favorite course at the moment is Integrated Marketing, which shows how smart companies use storytelling and word-of-mouth to develop authentic and compelling relationships with their customers and the general public. Jamie did not realize when she accepted an internship at Pronto Tax School that she would become a tax expert, but hey, life is full of surprises and that’s a good thing.