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Can I claim single, head of household if I am recently separated?

Q: I have been separated from my husband since January of 2003. Our separation agreement has not yet been filed in court (although it will be shortly). I purchased a house in my name. Can I claim “single, head of household” status? We have two children, and our agreement gives us custody of one child each for tax purposes. Can I claim the mortgage interest on my house? We still own our original house together and he is planning on claiming that interest; I would not. --Jill, Lexington

The following answer was provided by James Castro, CPA, Castro Thresher & Oliveira PC, Attleboro.

A: I believe you may do all of the following. If you lived apart for the last 6 months of the tax year you generally may file "single." Since you have a dependent living with you, you generally may file as "head of household" and as long as you are responsible for and paying the mortgage you may claim the interest on your principal residence plus one other residence.
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