Pamela Castaldi



On July 25, 2018, the Department issued an assessment to the Taxpayer for personal income tax for year 2016. On October 6, 2018, the Taxpayer filed a timely protest. The only issue in this protest was whether the Taxpayer was properly assessed when the Department denied the Taxpayer’s head of household filing status. On the New Mexico personal income tax return filing status conforms to the federal rules. The federal regulation 26 C.F.R. 1.2-2 issued by the Department of the Treasury determines whether an individual qualifies as head of household. The law has three requirements: that the Taxpayer is not married, paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year, and that a qualifying person lived with the taxpayer for more than half the calendar year. The federal law considers a qualifying person to be a dependent child, of which there are five requirements. The child must have a certain familial relationship with the individual, have the same principal place of abode, and be under 24 years of age (if a student). The child must not provide more than half his or her own support and must not file a joint return. The Hearing Officer found that the Taxpayer presented credible evidence supporting each of these requirements. Ms. Castaldi was a single person who maintained a home in 2016 at her own expense and provided a home and other necessities, including food, for her adult son who was under the age of 24 at the time and attending college. The Department did not challenge the Taxpayer’s evidence or present any evidence that contradicted this evidence. Because of these reasons, the Hearing Officer granted the Taxpayer’s protest and the assessment was abated.