Can I Claim Head of Household If Married?

By Alex Oware on 06/24/2015 10:00 PM

Question: I’m married with 3 small children; we lived together the entire year in Taiwan (and for the past 6 years). My Children all US citizens. I’m also a US citizen, being paid by a US organization where all US taxes are withheld.

I do not file and report my income in Taiwan. My spouse (Taiwanese citizen) does not have an ITIN. She does not want to report her income on US return so files her income tax return in Taiwan.

 

1. What’s the best filing status I can use?

2. I’m I entitled to EIC?

3. I’m I entitled to Refundable Child Tax Credit?

 

Answer:

1.      Generally, you can't use HOH if you are married and living with your wife. In this case you can. But you still don't get EIC. You may be able to use Head of Household--even though you were married and living together the entire year. There's a special rule when your spouse is a nonresident alien and there are qualifying children or relatives.

According to Pub 17 page 23 “You  are  considered unmarried for head of household purposes if your spouse was a nonresident alien at any time during the year and you do not choose to treat  your  nonresident  spouse  as  a  resident  alien. However, your spouse is not a qualifying person for head of household purposes.  You must have another qualifying person and meet the other tests to be eligible to file as a head of household.”

If you decide to use the HOH status, you can e-file, since you won’t have to provide an ITIN or SSN for the spouse.

 

2.      With regards to the fact pattern, EIC will not be available to you.

3.      With regards to the fact pattern, you may be able to claim the  Refundable and additional refundable child tax credit 

***Disclaimer: I am a tax accountant and a CPA , but I am not your accountant or advocate (Unless you have signed up to my services). This communication is not intended as tax advice, and no tax accountant -client relationship results**