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What does it mean to file as Head of Household?

Filing as Head of Household is a tax filing status available to unmarried individuals (and those married to a non-American) who provide more than half of the financial support for their household and have a qualifying dependent, such as a child or parent.

This status offers lower tax rates and higher deductions compared to filing as Single and especially compared to Married Filing Separately.

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How do I know I’m eligible for Head of Household filing status?

To qualify, you must meet specific criteria that revolve around your living situation, the support you provide, and your relationship with the dependent(s).

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Support Provision: To claim this status, you must contribute more than 50% of the total support for a dependent or qualifying child during the tax year.
  • Qualifying Individuals: Dependents can include your children, whether by birth, adoption, or foster care, and in some cases, even your parents, if you’re providing the majority of their support.

Examples of Eligibility:

  • Single Parent Scenario: If you’re single and have a dependent child for whom you provide over half of their support, you’re eligible for the HoH status. This is a common scenario for expats who are single parents, ensuring they can benefit from a more favorable tax treatment.
  • Married to a Non-Resident Alien: A unique situation arises for US citizens in the UAE (and other countries) married to non-resident aliens. If you support a dependent child, you can still claim the HoH status, offering a tax advantage despite your spouse’s non-US status.

Why does filing as Head of Household matter for expats in the UAE?

For expatriates, it allows for a higher standard deduction and potentially lower tax rates on your income, which can be particularly beneficial while living abroad.

What should I do before I file?

It’s advisable to consult with a tax professional before claiming the HoH status. This is especially true for expats who might face additional scrutiny or have unique circumstances that could affect their eligibility.

Why partner with a specialist Expat accountant?

Living outside of the US can make your tax filing requirements complicated. To ensure you pay the minimum amount of taxes, it’s critical to work with an accountant who understands every aspect and avenue for reducing your tax liability. We have a dedicated team of tax accountants who work exclusively with US expats earning and investing in the UAE. Partnering with a specialist expat accountant can help you navigate complex tax regulations and optimize your tax situation.

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