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I am a single mom, my son turned 24 last year, full time college student, work part time made about 8k last year, renting an apartment with his friend. I am paying for his full tuition and most of the living expenses, can I file as the head of household?

Based on the information you provided, it would appear that you can file as head of household. However, I would encourage you to go through this interactive filing status assistant from the IRS to confirm: https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/what-is-my-filing-status I would also encourage you to use this assistant on who you can claim as a dependent, to be sure that he really is your dependent: https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/whom-may-i-claim-as-a-dependent...

I would also point out that you should be able to document all support provided, if needed.

If I can claim him as dependent, does he need to file his own income tax return?

Probably not, based on the basic information you provided. But, since he had income, if income taxes were withheld from his pay, then he probably would want to file a tax return in order to claim the refund. Here is an assistant that can help him determine if he needs to file or not: https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/do-i-need-to-file-a-tax-return

AJ
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