Head of Dependent

Today TaxMama hears from Greg in Indiana, who says. “My gay partner and I have lived together for 2 years. 2005 was the first full year we have lived under the same roof. I pay more than 60% of the household items (rent, insurance, food etc.) Can I legally file as head of household? Does he qualify as a qualified person under IRS standards? Any advice you have would be great.”

Dear Greg,

Under the new IRS guidelines, just release for this year, probably not.

You’re affected. Straight couples are affected.

Heck, even parents with adult children living endlessly at home are affected. I am getting this same kind of question from all people all over!

However, I say ‘probably’ because it’s not totally clear to me. I thought I had found a piece of the definition of relatives where it talks about people living together “not in violation of local laws and ordinances”, that might make the relationship work for tax purposes. That might only allow you to have a dependent. Or not. Since you’re still not relatives.

Under “Tests To Be a Qualifying Relative” here’s how IRS defines it in Publication 17
http://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/ch03.html#d0e11271:

Member of Household or Relationship Test

To meet this test, a person must either:
1.Live with you all year as a member of your household, OR
2.Be related to you in one of the ways listed under Relatives who do not have to live with you.

And Head of Household is defined this way
http://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/ch02.html#d0e9449

You may be able to file as head of household if you meet all the following requirements.
1.You are unmarried or “considered unmarried” on the last day of the year.
2.You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year.
3.A “qualifying person” lived with you in the home for more than half the year

Even the tax pros are asking for clarification.

I came across this answer to a similar question from Lara Schwartz, an attorney for the Human Rights Campaign, which was just posted this morning. (see link below)

There may be chance that you will be able to file as HOH.

Stand by and keep reading Ask TaxMama.

I just had a chat with IRS about this yesterday and asked them to clearly define how this will affect co-habitating couples – of all kinds.

Hopefully, I will get a definitive answer this week.

Remember, you’ll find answers to questions about filing status and all kinds of tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At TaxMama.com

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