Happy New Year. With the new year comes the beginning of tax season 2012. I thought I would kick that off with a quick refresher on the issue of when a tax return needs to be filed.
You are required to file a federal income tax return if your income is above a certain level, which varies depending on your filing status, age and the type of income you receive. However, some people should file even if they aren’t required to because they may get a refund if they had taxes withheld or they may qualify for refundable credits.
To find out if you need to file, you can contact our office and talk to one of our tax paralegals or check the Individuals section of the IRS website at www.irs.gov. As a general rule single taxpayers with income over $9,500 will need to file a return. Married couples must file if their incomes exceed $19,000.
Even if you don’t have to file for 2011, here are six reasons why you may want to:
1. Federal Income Tax Withheld You should file to get money back if your employer withheld federal income tax from your pay, you made estimated tax payments, or had a prior year overpayment applied to this year’s tax.
2. Earned Income Tax Credit You may qualify for EITC if you worked, but did not earn a lot of money. EITC is a refundable tax credit; which means you could qualify for a tax refund. To get the credit you must file a return and claim it.
3. Additional Child Tax Credit This refundable credit may be available if you have at least one qualifying child and you did not get the full amount of the Child Tax Credit.
4. American Opportunity Credit Students in their first four years of postsecondary education may qualify for as much as $2,500 through this credit. Forty percent of the credit is refundable so even those who owe no tax can get up to $1,000 of the credit as cash back for each eligible student.
5. Adoption Credit You may be able to claim a refundable tax credit for qualified expenses you paid to adopt an eligible child.
6. Health Coverage Tax Credit Certain individuals who are receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance, Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance, Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance or pension benefit payments from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, may be eligible for a 2011 Health Coverage Tax Credit.
Eligible individuals can claim a significant portion of their payments made for qualified health insurance premiums.
As you can see, even if you didn’t make much money in 2011 you may be entitled to money back from the IRS even if you didn’t pay much into the system by virtue of your withholding. .For more information about filing requirements and your eligibility to receive tax credits, please contact our office.