I am a Non-resident Alien paying all the expenses of my apartment. I am single and live alone. Can I claim Head of Household even if I have no dependents in USA?

Is the definition stated for Head of Household in Federal W4 applicable to Massachusetts state form?

1 Answer 1


Not according the Massachusetts Department of Revenue:

Taxpayers may file as head of household if they meet all of the following criteria:

  1. the taxpayer is unmarried or considered unmarried on the last day of the year;
  2. the taxpayer paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year, and
  3. a qualifying person lived with the taxpayer in the home for more than half the year.

    Special Rule for Parent - A Dependent Parent Does Not Have to Live with the Taxpayer: Taxpayers may be eligible to file as head of household even if the parent for whom the taxpayer can claim an exemption does not live with the taxpayer. The taxpayer must pay more than half the cost of keeping up a home that was the main home for the entire year for the father or mother. Keeping up a main home means the taxpayer is paying more than half the cost of keeping a parent in a rest home or home for the elderly.

Which makes sense, since the point of filing as Head of Household is to allow for deductions of dependent expenses without having to be married. If anyone living alone could claim Head of Household, then there would be no need for a Single status.

  • 1
    The third condition is not mentioned in Federal tax w4 form. So, is that applicable only to Massachusetts?
    – skr
    Dec 8, 2017 at 15:48
  • 4
    @skr_robo The W4 is not authoritative - it is only used to determine how much is deducted from your paycheck. What matters is what you claim when you file. The instructions for the 1040 clearly state that you must have a "qualifying person" living in the home with you.
    – D Stanley
    Dec 8, 2017 at 16:19
  • 1
    IRS publications also list #3 irs.gov/publications/p501#idm139774465692608
    – Jason Rush
    Dec 8, 2017 at 17:20

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