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Can Divorced Parents Each Claim Head of Household?

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Each year, your income tax form asks if you're filing as the head of household. This is straightforward for many people, but not necessarily for divorced spouses who share children. Who gets the child tax credit and earned income tax credit (EITC)?

Jun 2nd 2021
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Is it possible for divorced parents to each claim head of household (HOH) if they both maintain their own home and have the children 50 percent of the time?

According to Bill Roos, EA, the short answer to this question is a resounding no.

The IRS has specific rules about who is allowed to claim HOH, and just because people have children together does not mean they each qualify in the eyes of the government agency.

To claim head of household, the parent has to have a qualifying child live with them for more than 50 percent of the year.

In addition, there are the rules for children of divorced parents that have to be followed. In the case of divorced parents, one is always the custodial parent. This is the parent with whom the child spends more nights than with the other parent. The custodial parent gets to claim the child as a dependent, gets to file as head of household (if qualified), and gets to claim the child tax credit, dependent care credit and the earned income credit.

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