The unusual O-coordination mode of nitrosamines to Fe(III) heme models has been observed in the bis(dimethylnitrosamine)(meso-tetraphenylporphyrinate)iron(III) cation. For the first time, this latter as well as the simpler bis(dimethylnitrosamine)(porphinate)iron(III) heme model cations have been studied through ab initio methods. The sextet, quartet, and doublet spin states of both cations have been studied through single-point calculations based on the experimental (X-ray) geometry. Their energies, charges, and spin densities have been analyzed. The obtained results (at the UHF/cc-pVDZ and ROHF/cc-pVDZ levels) indicate that the peripheral benzene rings are of secondary importance for the coordination of dimethylnitrosamine to the Fe(III) porphyrin core. The obtained energy ordering is sextet < quartet < doublet, at all computational levels. The UHF, ROHF, and UMP2 results indicate an excess of alpha spin density around the Fe atom, a low covalency for the FeO bond and a substantial charge transfer to the Fe atom. Our best estimates [obtained at ROMP2 level with the mixed cc-pVDZ/cc-pVTZ-DK(Fe) basis set] for the energy differences (in eV) between the three spin states considered are 0.929 for the sextet-quartet gap and 0.812 for the quartet-doublet gap, which indicate that the spin crossover (at room temperature) is very unlikely. These results represent the substantial decrease in the uncorrelated values. The implications of spin contaminations at the UHF and UMP2 levels for subsequent geometry optimizations to be performed in the smaller cation have also been discussed. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.