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april 15

Hows Gays Can Exploit the Tax Code: Have Both Partners File as Heads of Household

As we approach April 15, the tax tips for homos are just flying in. We already learned about how gay couples with children can choose who claims children as dependents to get the best tax benefit. Now we learn that while the IRS allows gay couples to have one partner file as “head of household” (something married straight couples cannot do), it’s actually possible for both partners to do so, and reap the tax savings. “To qualify, you must be unmarried or considered unmarried, have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home and live with a ‘qualifying person,’ like a dependent child. So generally, only one partner (who is also the legal parent of a dependent child) can claim this status on a federal return. But it’s not impossible for two partners to claim head of household — one partner, for instance, may be supporting an elderly parent, while the other is supporting a child. It often makes sense for the higher-earning partner to file as head of household, but not always.” Do friends who always come over and eat out of your fridge count as dependents? [NYT]

By:           editor editor
On:           Feb 22, 2010
Tagged: , , , , , ,
  • 11 Comments
    • RomanHans
      RomanHans

      So, both partners can claim head of household . . . as long as they each pay more than half the cost of keeping up the home. I’d like to hear how they manage that.

      Feb 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jamie
      Jamie

      Incorrect. Both partners cannot “pay more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year.” That’s a mathematical impossibility. I pity those that read the Times article and take it on faith. It won’t help them when they’re audited.

      http://www.irs.gov/publications/p501/ar02.html#en_US_publink1000220775

      Feb 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Derek
      Derek

      No, it can potentially be claimed by both. One partner could claim a dependent child living in home, while the other partner could claim head of household if they maintain a separate home for an elderly parent.

      Feb 22, 2010 at 3:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh AZ
      Josh AZ

      What does Charles Merrill think? He’s our LGBT-IRS guy, right?

      Feb 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WWCMD?
      WWCMD?

      @Josh AZ: I believe Charles Merrill would suggest you simply don’t pay taxes.

      And as long as we’re collecting advice, I believe Texans would suggest you burn down your house and fly a plane into an IRS building.

      So… I’ve yet to find a real winning strategy. I don’t have kids or a plane, and I’m too pretty for prison.

      Feb 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • LINN
      LINN

      correct, the one making the most money is the one allowed to be called head of household when filing taxes.

      @Jamie:

      Feb 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      No. 1 · RomanHans

      Queerty explained that.

      one partner, for instance, may be supporting an elderly parent, while the other is supporting a child.

      Feb 22, 2010 at 4:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • stevenelliot
      stevenelliot

      one year my partner claimed me as a dependent…..but somehow that loophole vanished a couple of years ago….

      Try this shit (off subject but relevant). I wanted to get on my partner’s health insurance plan at his work. We filled out the paper work and a month later the insurance company said they would have to see our california domestic partnership certificate or they would deny me access. SO if Im in say North Carolina and a company there says I can get on my poartners health plan its OK, but here in Cali one has to be legally bound by a meaningless piece of state sponsored paper to achieve the same goal…..There is nothing like a legal, 100% equal to hetero, marriage status.

      Feb 22, 2010 at 6:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • S
      S

      One needs at least one dependent relative to file as head of household. As pointed out, with the exception of a dependent parent, the dependent relative needs to live in the same household as the taxpayer.

      Here’s the problem: even if you support a parent, the “gross income” test means you won’t be able to claim them as a dependent if they have gross income over the amount of the exemption ($3,650 for 2009). So if your parent has ANY kind of pension, no matter how inadequate, it will probably eliminate the possibility of claiming the parent as dependent. I supported my mother for 15 years, but she had a $5,000 pension. That kept me from claiming her as a dependent and from filing as head of household.

      Feb 23, 2010 at 12:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryan
      Ryan

      Two unmarried guys are not considered part of the same “household”, even if they live together. Legally, they are no different than roommates. So it’s possible to both claim HOH if they each have a dependent.

      Feb 23, 2010 at 3:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jim
      Jim

      Are dogs considered dependents yet? I have two!

      Feb 23, 2010 at 3:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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