Do I Need to File Taxes?

You’ve probably heard (or asked) this question before: “Do I need to file taxes this year?”  Well the answer may surprise you.  Many Americans don’t have to file taxes if they fit a certain criteria.  Usually, income level, filing status, age and income type will determine if you are required to file taxes or not.

Generally, if you’re single and made $9,000 or less in wages, you probably don’t need to file.  But other factors will determine whether you should file or not, so be sure you use this IRS calculator to see if you have to file.

Even if you meet the criteria and don’t need to file your taxes this year, you might still want to file because of certain tax credits.

Reasons you should file your taxes even if you don’t need to.

The IRS allows tax filers the opportunity to claim credits and deductions.  This can lower your taxable income and even provide a payment beyond what you actually paid in.  Understanding these credits will maximize your chances of getting the biggest return possible – now that’s a smart money hack.

  1. Federal Income Tax Withheld If you had taxes withheld from your paychecks, you might get a tax refund.  The only way you can get a refund is by filing your taxes.

If you’re going to file online with Turbo Tax, make sure you use these Turbo Tax Discounts.

  1. Earned Income Tax Credit Low wage earners might qualify for the EITC.  It’s a refundable credit, so you can actually end up with more than what you paid into the system.  That’s just the way the IRS works!
  2. Additional Child Tax Credit If you have at least one qualifying child and you didn’t get the full amount of the Child Tax Credit, you might qualify for this credit.
  3. American Opportunity Credit For students in college (first four years after high school) you can apply for this credit and might get the full $2,500. Even if you didn’t pay any taxes, you can still get up to 40% as a refund, so fully qualifying students who didn’t pay a dime in taxes can get $1,000 back.
  4. Adoption Credit If you adopted a child and had qualified expenses associated with the adoption, you might be eligible for this credit.
  5. Health Coverage Tax Credit  According to the IRS, “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.

Even if you don’t technically have to file your taxes, you should definitely consider filing them for the reasons listed above.  It’s just smart, and you might get some money that you weren’t expecting.

Do you think you’ll be eligible for any of these credits this year?

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