Can two people from the same address file as “head of household” if their qualifying dependents are different?

by Amy M. Swartzfager, CPA | Feb 27, 2018
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Can two people from the same address file as "head of household" if their qualifying dependents are different? My father filed as married jointly, with my mom as the only exemption. Since we all live at the same address, should I file as single status claiming my sibling as the exemption, or should I file as head of household status claiming my sibling as the exemption?

The first item that needs to be addressed is to determine who should legally claim the exemption for the sibling. This typically would go to the parents first, especially because the child is living with them. However, it could be argued that the sibling could be claimed as your dependent if you provided over half of the sibling’s support and your adjusted gross income (AGI) was higher than the highest AGI of either parent.

With regard to the head of household status, you would have had to pay more than half of all of the costs to maintain the home to claim head of household status. The sibling would have also had to have lived there for more than half of the year.

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Answered by: Amy M. Swartzfager, CPA, is a senior tax analyst with API Technologies Corporation in Fairview, Pa. 

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