What is the benefit of using the filing status "head of household"?

If you can file as head of household, your tax rate — generally — is lower than the rates for single people or people who are married filing separately. You also receive a higher standard deduction.

Head of household is one of five filing statuses you can use when you file your tax return. Your tax bracket, your standard deduction, and certain deductions and credits you're allowed to take depend on your filing status.

The five filing statuses are:

  • Single
  • Married filing a joint return
  • Married filing a separate return
  • Unmarried head of household
  • Qualifying surviving spouse

To file as head of household, you must be unmarried or "considered unmarried" on the last day of the year. You also must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for you and a qualified person if unmarried or dependent child if "considered unmarried" for more than half a year.