Do I have to File a Tax Return?
January 26, 2010 – Special Edition TT-2010-17
You must file a tax return if your income is above a certain level. The amount varies depending on filing status, age and the type of income you receive.
Check the Individuals section of IRS.gov or consult the instructions for Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ for specific details that may affect your need to file a tax return with the IRS this year.
Even if you don't have to file, here are eight reasons why you may want to file:
- Federal Income Tax Withheld If you are not required to file, you should file to get money back if Federal Income Tax was withheld from your pay, you made estimated tax payments, or had a prior year overpayment applied to this year's tax.
- Making Work Pay Credit You may be able to take this credit if you have earned income from work. The maximum credit for a married couple filing a joint return is $800 and $400 for other taxpayers.
- Government Retiree Credit You may be eligible for this credit if you received a government pension or annuity payment in 2009. However, the amount of this credit reduces any making work pay credit you receive.
- 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.
- Additional Child Tax Credit This credit may be available to you if you have at least one qualifying child and you did not get the full amount of the Child Tax Credit.
- Refundable American Opportunity Credit This education tax credit is available for 2009 and 2010. The maximum credit per student is $2,500 and the first four years of postsecondary education qualify.
- First-Time Homebuyer Credit The credit is a maximum of $8,000 or $4,000 if your filing status is married filing separately. The credit applies to homes bought anytime in 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010. However, you have until on or before June 30, 2010, if you entered into a written binding contract before May 1, 2010. If you bought a home after November 6, 2009, you may be able to qualify and claim the credit even if you already owned a home. In this case, the maximum credit for long-time residents is $6,500, or $3,250 if your filing status is married filing separately.
- Health Coverage Tax Credit Certain individuals, who are receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance, Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance, or pension benefit payments from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, may be eligible for a Health Coverage Tax Credit worth 80 percent of monthly health insurance premiums when you file your 2009 tax return.
For more information about filing requirements and your eligibility to receive tax credits, visit IRS.gov.
Using your answers to simple questions, TaxACT will help find all the credits and deductions you qualify for and then select and complete the forms you need to file. Both TaxACT Free Federal Edition and TaxACT Deluxe include all e-fileable forms for simple and complex returns. Start your TaxACT 2009 return now and have your guaranteed maximum refund in as few as 8 days (when you take advantage of TaxACT's free federal e-file and choose direct deposit).