– FEATURE GUEST POST BY JACKIE BLEDSOE, JR –
Tax season is nearing, so some of us are checking our tax documents, meeting with tax professionals, and hoping to find as many deductions as we possibly can. Of course the deductions you’re allowed to claim are based on your filing status. Head of Household is one of the five filing status options, but many real heads of households may not qualify.
No matter what my tax filing status says, I consider myself the head of household in my family. As the man, the husband, the dad, I assume the role of family leader. And I’m not going all male chauvinistic on you. I’m assuming the role God has called me to assume.
How to qualify as head of household
But in contrast the IRS may not consider me head of household according some of their tests.
In fact, to make sure you qualify as head of household for the IRS you really have to do the opposite of what real family leaders do. Here is what is required of a head of household for tax purposes.
- Unmarried Test – You must be unmarried or considered unmarried (lived in separate residences).
- Support Test – You must provide more than half the cost of keeping up your home for the year.
- Qualifying Person Test – You must live in the taxpayer’s home for more than half the year.
To me that is weird that in order for me to pass one of the tests I have to be unmarried, or married but not living together. Another test says all you need to do is provide financially, but nothing else. The third says you just have to live in the home, but not contribute.
None of that sounds like a head of household, or real family leader to me.
What does a real family leader look like?
I’m not knocking the IRS at all (as that wouldn’t be a smart move on my part), but in looking at the head of household filing status it has me taking a deeper look at what qualifies you to be a real head of household or family leader.
I too believe there are three tests that must be passed to qualify you as a real family leader. They may not help you with your tax deductions, but they will make a world of difference for your family.
Below are the 3 tests which show you are a family leader who GETS it, as well as some action items you can implement now.
You GIVE more of yourself.
Your focus is on giving to your family. You give your time, your attention, and your resources in order to meet their needs.
- When you come home each day, put your phone, and laptop away, then spend a few minutes giving an ear to your spouse.
- After your wife has been able to share her day with you, give your time to your kids by taking them outside to play
You ENCOURAGE your family to be their best.
You are always encouraging to your family. You build your wife and kids up with your words, and your support of them.
- When you listen to your wife, you may hear or recognize some areas she’s struggling in. This is where you can come in with an encouraging word, an actions which reinforces you are there for her, and with an encouraging attitude.
- My kids play sports, and sometimes when we go outside they don’t always catch the ball, make the basket, or stay up on their bike. As dad, your words and reaction to those things can build or tear down. They can make or break. Use your words to encourage your kids, and to help them believe in themselves.
You TEACH from the very life lessons you’ve learned
You are always looking for the lesson in what you and your family experience. When you learn something, you teach it to your family, even when it was a lesson learned from your mistake.
- Your marriage is one of life’s greatest teachers. It’ll teach you about yourself and your spouse. Study your spouse, not with the intent of teaching her something new, but the intent in learning how you can better serve her as her husband.
- The spiritual, academic, nor emotional education of our children should be left up to mom alone. Take initiative by getting involved with their schoolwork, and even making lessons out of hanging in the backyard, going for a walk, or even repairing a bicycle together. Teach them everything you know to prepare them in life
So, where do you stand?
Are you head of household by the IRS standards, or a real family leader serving your family as God called you to?
If you aren’t qualifying as family leader yet, I encourage you to begin to give more of yourself, encourage your wife and kids, and teach them lessons which will benefit them for years to come.
What do you say it takes to be a real family leader?
Jackie Bledsoe, Jr. is a follower of Christ, a husband, and a dad. He’s a writer and speaker on a mission to help men grow in their most important roles. The roles of husband and father. He’s the author of The Family Leader’s Manifesto, and creator of The 7 Rings of Marriage TM. Connect with Jackie on his blog, JackieBledsoe.com.