Even if you don’t have to file a tax return, there are times when you
should. Here are five good reasons why you should file a return, even if you’re
not required to do so:
1. Tax Withheld or Paid. Did your employer
withhold federal income tax from your pay? Did you make estimated tax payments?
Did you overpay last year and have it applied to this year’s tax? If you
answered “yes” to any of these questions, you could be due a refund. But you
have to file a tax return to get it.
2. Earned Income Tax Credit. Did you work and
earn less than $51,567 last year? You could receive EITC as a tax refund if you
qualify. Families with qualifying children may be eligible for up to $6,044.
Use the EITC
Assistant tool on IRS.gov to find out if you qualify. If you do, file a tax
return and claim it.
3. Additional Child Tax Credit. Do you have at
least one child that qualifies for the Child Tax Credit? If you don’t get the
full credit amount, you may qualify for the Additional Child Tax Credit. To
claim it, you need to file Schedule
8812, Child Tax Credit, with your tax return.
4. American Opportunity Credit. Are you a
student or do you support a student? If so, you may be eligible for this
credit. Students in their first four years of higher education may qualify for
as much as $2,500. Even those who owe no tax may get up to $1,000 of the credit
refunded per eligible student. You must file Form
8863, Education Credits, with your tax return to claim this credit.
5. Health Coverage Tax Credit. Did you receive
Trade Adjustment Assistance, Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance,
Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance or pension benefit payments from the
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation? If so, you may qualify for the Health
Coverage Tax Credit. The HCTC helps make health insurance more affordable for
you and your family. This credit pays 72.5 percent of qualified health
insurance premiums. Visit IRS.gov for more
on this credit.
To sum it all up, check to see if you would benefit from filing a federal
tax return. You may qualify for a tax refund even if you don’t have to file.
And remember, if you do qualify for a refund, you must file a return to claim
The instructions for Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ list income tax filing
requirements. You can also use the Interactive
Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov to see if you need to file. The tool is
available 24/7 to answer many tax questions.
Additional IRS Resources:
596, Earned Income Credit
972, Child Tax Credit
970, Tax Benefits for Education
Coverage Tax Credit