Six Tips to Help Determine If You Should File a Return

Generally, many people are required to file a tax return, which is why they do. But even if you don’t have to, you may still want to. There’s a chance you may be eligible for a tax refund and not even know it. The following six items may give you reason enough to file a return, if you’re on the fence about whether or not you need to.

  1. Standard Filing Requirements: Your filing status, income level, and age will play the biggest roles in whether or not you are required to file a tax return. For instance, a 28 year old single taxpayer must file a return if their income was $10,150 or greater. The regulations change when it comes to self-employed taxpayers or dependents of others. Contact your tax specialist or the IRS if you need help determining whether or not you have to file a tax return.
  2. Premium Tax Credit: Those who purchased health care coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace may be eligible to receive the premium tax credit. If you chose to have advance payments based off your applicable credit amount paid to the insurer throughout the year to cover your monthly premiums, you will have to file a return. You’ll need to reconcile the amount of advance payments you received via the credit, with the actual amount of credit you are eligible for. Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement will document all the information you need to reconcile your Premium Tax Credit.
  3. Tax Withholdings: If your employer took taxes out of your paycheck, or you overpaid last year and had the amount applied to taxes this year, you may be getting money back. Even if you made estimated tax payments as a self-employed individual, you may have over paid your taxes, in which case you will want to file a return to account for a refund.
  4. Earned Income Tax Credit: If you made less than a certain income threshold and you worked, you may be eligible to receive the earned income tax credit. You can qualify with or without a qualifying child, and you could be eligible to receive up to $6, 143 in tax benefits. You’ll need to file a return to claim the credit if you are eligible.
  5. Additional Child Tax Credit: If you have a child that is eligible for the Child Tax Credit, but don’t receive the entire credit amount, you may want to look into the Additional Child Tax Credit, which can help you get the full amount.
  6. American Opportunity Credit: Post-secondary students enrolled in higher education can use the AOTC to gain up to $2,500 in tax benefits. The student (you or your dependent) must be enrolled at least half time for a full academic period. You may be able to claim the credit even if you don’t owe any taxes, so use Form 8863, Education Credits to file your claim for the AOTC.