Each tax season, I receive phone calls from people asking if they need to file a tax return. The answer is, “It depends.” For example, the gross income threshold for single taxpayers under age 65 for 2011 is $9,500; for Married Filing Jointly, it’s $19,000 if they are both under 65. But even if you don’t need to file, it may be advantageous for you to do so. The IRS put together some information that will help answer this question:
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.