26 CFR § 1.2-2 - Definitions and special rules.

(a)Surviving spouse.

(1) If a taxpayer is eligible to file a joint return under the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 without regard to section 6013(a) (3) thereof for the taxable year in which his spouse dies, his return for each of the next 2 taxable years following the year of the death of the spouse shall be treated as a joint return for all purposes if all three of the following requirements are satisfied:

(i) He has not remarried before the close of the taxable year the return for which is sought to be treated as a joint return, and

(ii) He maintains as his home a household which constitutes for the taxable year the principal place of abode as a member of such household of a person who is (whether by blood or adoption) a son, stepson, daughter, or stepdaughter of the taxpayer, and

(iii) He is entitled for the taxable year to a deduction under section 151 (relating to deductions for dependents) with respect to such son, stepson, daughter, or stepdaughter.

(2) See paragraphs (c)(1) and (d) of this section for rules for the determination of when the taxpayer maintains as his home a household which constitutes for the taxable year the principal place of abode, as a member of such household, of another person.

(3) If the taxpayer does not qualify as a surviving spouse he may nevertheless qualify as a head of a household if he meets the requirements of § 1.2-2(b).

(4) The following example illustrates the provisions relating to a surviving spouse:

Example:
Assume that the taxpayer meets the requirements of this paragraph for the years 1967 through 1971, and that the taxpayer, whose wife died during 1966 while married to him, remarried in 1968. In 1969, the taxpayer's second wife died while married to him, and he remained single thereafter. For 1967 the taxpayer will qualify as a surviving spouse, provided that neither the taxpayer nor the first wife was a nonresident alien at any time during 1966 and that she (immediately prior to her death) did not have a taxable year different from that of the taxpayer. For 1968 the taxpayer does not qualify as a surviving spouse because he remarried before the close of the taxable year. The taxpayer will qualify as a surviving spouse for 1970 and 1971, provided that neither the taxpayer nor the second wife was a nonresident alien at any time during 1969 and that she (immediately prior to her death) did not have a taxable year different from that of the taxpayer. On the other hand, if the taxpayer, in 1969, was divorced or legally separated from his second wife, the taxpayer will not qualify as a surviving spouse for 1970 or 1971, since he could not have filed a joint return for 1969 (the year in which his second wife died).

(b)Head of household.

(1) A taxpayer shall be considered the head of a household if, and only if, he is not married at the close of his taxable year, is not a surviving spouse (as defined in paragraph (a) of this section, and (i) maintains as his home a household which constitutes for such taxable year the principal place of abode, as a member of such household, of at least one of the individuals described in subparagraph (3), or (ii) maintains (whether or not as his home) a household which constitutes for such taxable year the principal place of abode of one of the individuals described in subparagraph (4).

(2) Under no circumstances shall the same person be used to qualify more than one taxpayer as the head of a household for the same taxable year.

(3) Any of the following persons may qualify the taxpayer as a head of a household:

(i) A son, stepson, daughter, or stepdaughter of the taxpayer, or a descendant of a son or daughter of the taxpayer. For the purpose of determining whether any of the stated relationships exist, a legally adopted child of a person is considered a child of such person by blood. If any such person is not married at the close of the taxable year of the taxpayer, the taxpayer may qualify as the head of a household by reason of such person even though the taxpayer may not claim a deduction for such person under section 151, for example, because the taxpayer does not furnish more than half of the support of such person. However, if any such person is married at the close of the taxable year of the taxpayer, the taxpayer may qualify as the head of a household by reason of such person only if the taxpayer is entitled to a deduction for such person under section 151 and the regulations thereunder. In applying the preceding sentence there shall be disregarded any such person for whom a deduction is allowed under section 151 only by reason of section 152(c) (relating to persons covered by a multiple support agreement).

(ii) Any other person who is a dependent of the taxpayer, if the taxpayer is entitled to a deduction for the taxable year for such person under section 151 and paragraphs (3) through (8) of section 152(a) and the regulations thereunder. Under section 151 the taxpayer may be entitled to a deduction for any of the following persons:

(a) His brother, sister, stepbrother, or stepsister;

(b) His father or mother, or an ancestor of either;

(c) His stepfather or stepmother;

(d) A son or a daughter of his brother or sister;

(e) A brother or sister of his father or mother; or

(f) His son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother- in-law, or sister-in-law;

if such person has a gross income of less than the amount determined pursuant to § 1.151-2 applicable to the calendar year in which the taxable year of the taxpayer begins, if the taxpayer supplies more than one-half of the support of such person for such calendar year and if such person does not make a joint return with his spouse for the taxable year beginning in such calendar year. The taxpayer may not be considered to be a head of a household by reason of any person for whom a deduction is allowed under section 151 only by reason of sections 152 (a)(9), 152 (a)(10), or 152(c) (relating to persons not related to the taxpayer, persons receiving institutional care, and persons covered by multiple support agreements).

(4) The father or mother of the taxpayer may qualify the taxpayer as a head of a household, but only if the taxpayer is entitled to a deduction for the taxable year for such father or mother under section 151 (determined without regard to section 152(c)). For example, an unmarried taxpayer who maintains a home for his widowed mother may not qualify as the head of a household by reason of his maintenance of a home for his mother if his mother has gross income equal to or in excess of the amount determined pursuant to § 1.151-2 applicable to the calendar year in which the taxable year of the taxpayer begins, or if he does not furnish more than one-half of the support of his mother for such calendar year. For this purpose, a person who legally adopted the taxpayer is considered the father or mother of the taxpayer.

(5) For the purpose of this paragraph, the status of the taxpayer shall be determined as of the close of the taxpayer's taxable year. A taxpayer shall be considered as not married if at the close of his taxable year he is legally separated from his spouse under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance, or if at any time during the taxable year the spouse to whom the taxpayer is married at the close of his taxable year was a nonresident alien. A taxpayer shall be considered married at the close of his taxable year if his spouse (other than a spouse who is a nonresident alien) dies during such year.

(6) If the taxpayer is a nonresident alien during any part of the taxable year he may not qualify as a head of a household even though he may comply with the other provisions of this paragraph. See the regulations prescribed under section 871 for a definition of nonresident alien.

(c)Household.

(1) In order for a taxpayer to be considered as maintaining a household by reason of any individual described in paragraph (a)(1) or (b)(3) of this section, the household must actually constitute the home of the taxpayer for his taxable year. A physical change in the location of such home will not prevent a taxpayer from qualifying as a head of a household. Such home must also constitute the principal place of abode of at least one of the persons specified in such paragraph (a)(1) or (b)(3) of this section. It is not sufficient that the taxpayer maintain the household without being its occupant. The taxpayer and such other person must occupy the household for the entire taxable year of the taxpayer. However, the fact that such other person is born or dies within the taxable year will not prevent the taxpayer from qualifying as a head of household if the household constitutes the principal place of abode of such other person for the remaining or preceding part of such taxable year. The taxpayer and such other person will be considered as occupying the household for such entire taxable year notwithstanding temporary absences from the household due to special circumstances. A nonpermanent failure to occupy the common abode by reason of illness, education, business, vacation, military service, or a custody agreement under which a child or stepchild is absent for less than 6 months in the taxable year of the taxpayer, shall be considered temporary absence due to special circumstances. Such absence will not prevent the taxpayer from being considered as maintaining a household if (i) it is reasonable to assume that the taxpayer or such other person will return to the household, and (ii) the taxpayer continues to maintain such household or a substantially equivalent household in anticipation of such return.

(2) In order for a taxpayer to be considered as maintaining a household by reason of any individual described in paragraph (b)(4) of this section, the household must actually constitute the principal place of abode of the taxpayer's dependent father or mother, or both of them. It is not, however, necessary for the purposes of such subparagraph for the taxpayer also to reside in such place of abode. A physical change in the location of such home will not prevent a taxpayer from qualifying as a head of a household. The father or mother of the taxpayer, however, must occupy the household for the entire taxable year of the taxpayer. They will be considered as occupying the household for such entire year notwithstanding temporary absences from the household due to special circumstances. For example, a nonpermanent failure to occupy the household by reason of illness or vacation shall be considered temporary absence due to special circumstances. Such absence will not prevent the taxpayer from qualifying as the head of a household if (i) it is reasonable to assume that such person will return to the household, and (ii) the taxpayer continues to maintain such household or a substantially equivalent household in anticipation of such return. However, the fact that the father or mother of the taxpayer dies within the year will not prevent the taxpayer from qualifying as a head of a household if the household constitutes the principal place of abode of the father or mother for the preceding part of such taxable year.

(d)Cost of maintaining a household. A taxpayer shall be considered as maintaining a household only if he pays more than one-half the cost thereof for his taxable year. The cost of maintaining a household shall be the expenses incurred for the mutual benefit of the occupants thereof by reason of its operation as the principal place of abode of such occupants for such taxable year. The cost of maintaining a household shall not include expenses otherwise incurred. The expenses of maintaining a household include property taxes, mortgage interest, rent, utility charges, upkeep and repairs, property insurance, and food consumed on the premises. Such expenses do not include the cost of clothing, education, medical treatment, vacations, life insurance, and transportation. In addition, the cost of maintaining a household shall not include any amount which represents the value of services rendered in the household by the taxpayer or by a person qualifying the taxpayer as a head of a household or as a surviving spouse.

(e)Certain married individuals living apart. For taxable years beginning after December 31, 1969, an individual who is considered as not married under section 143(b) shall be considered as not married for purposes of determining whether he or she qualifies as a single individual, a married individual, a head of household or a surviving spouse under sections 1 and 2 of the Code.

[T.D. 7117, 36 FR 9398, May 25, 1971]