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    Keeping up a Home for Head of Household - Child Support

    TaxGuyBill
    Level 15

    One requirement of Head of Household is paying over 1/2 of the cost of Keeping Up the Home.

     

    Custodial parent receives Spousal Support/Alimony.  That is considered as belonging to that custodial parent, so that is used for considering if 1/2 of the cost of the home is paid for, RIGHT?

    What about Child Support?  My logic would say that belongs to the non-custodial parent and would NOT be considered for the custodial parent paying for the home.  BUT I have stuck in my mind that it IS considered as belonging to the Custodial Parent which could be used for determining if over 1/2 is paid for.   Does anybody have any input or citations on that?

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    6 Comments 6
    qbteachmt
    Level 15

    I like to use IRS resources, such as:

    https://www.irs.gov/faqs/interest-dividends-other-types-of-income/alimony-child-support-court-awards...

    https://www.irs.gov/publications/p504

     

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    TaxGuyBill
    Level 15

    Unfortunately, those don't answer the question.

    qbteachmt
    Level 15

    "Unfortunately, those don't answer the question."

    The answer is Maybe. "Receiving child support or alimony doesn’t prevent you from claiming Head of Household as long as you’re paying more than 50% of your household costs from your own income or savings."

    The resources help more about the wording, qualifications, references, etc. There are residency tests, support tests, and other determinations to perform.

    This looks easy to read:

    https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/child-support-taxes-30263.html

    Social Security benefits in the name of a child are treated as belonging to that child and would be part of their computed share of contributing to their own household costs. If there are multiple support streams, then as long as the custodial parent still pays more than the others, that parent can still be HOH for that qualifying child.

    Support tests can be found, such as:

    https://www.irs.gov/publications/p501#en_US_2019_publink1000292527

    https://apps.irs.gov/app/vita/content/globalmedia/teacher/worksheet_for_determining_support_4012.pdf

    https://www.thebalance.com/head-of-household-filing-status-3193039#the-support-test

    And you need to follow the list for qualifying costs, since not everything applies.

    https://www.efile.com/irs-head-of-household-tax-filing-status/

     

     

     

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    CandacePoling
    Level 1

    Did you ever find a definitive answer to this question?  I'm dealing with the same issue at this time and it's very difficult to find info on this.

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    Ryan S
    Level 1

    The only guidance is that in worksheet 1 of publication 501 and in tax regulation 1.2-2(b), the head of household has to pay more than 50% of the expenses.  So, if the expenses are being paid directly by them and not someone else, then they would qualify as head of household, especially if they have sufficient documented forms of income, such as child support (non-taxable) and spousal support (non-taxable if from post 2018 decree).

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    qbteachmt
    Level 15

    I still like this worksheet:

    https://apps.irs.gov/app/vita/content/globalmedia/teacher/worksheet_for_determining_support_4012.pdf

     

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