Do I Even Have to File Taxes?

Tax Tips

Every year around this time, millions of Americans wonder if it’s even necessary for them to file a tax return. It probably doesn’t come as a shock to you, since anyone who has ever looked at a Form 1040 has probably wondered where the emergency exit doors are!

The easiest way to find out if you need to file a return is by using an IRS tool conveniently called “Do I need to file a tax return?” It’s a 12 minute survey that mirrors what you’d be asked if you called the IRS directly to ask. Be prepared to know your citizenship status, filing status, income earned outside the United States, federal income tax withheld, and anything else you need to know to calculate your gross income.

There are some cases where you might want to file a tax return even if you aren’t required to file a return. If you qualified for the Making Work Pay Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, Additional Child Tax Credit, American Opportunity Credit, First-Time Homebuyer Credit, or the Health Coverage Tax Credit then you’ll want to file a return in order to get the value of your credit back as a tax refund. Also, if you had federal income tax withheld on your paycheck, you may be due a refund and you’ll need to file a return to know for sure.

My recommendation is that everyone should take the time to prepare a tax return, which is simple when you use tax preparation software, and let the refund decide for you. If you aren’t required to file a return, simply fill out the forms (it shouldn’t take too long), and see if you’re due for a refund. If the answer is yes, file! If not, then skip it this year.

Comments (10) Leave your comment

  1. Hi, I do not have any income in 2013. I have $5700 gains from stock transactions and I did my 401k rollover to Traditional IRA. No other events/income. Please advise if I need to file my taxes at all? I was out of country for 9 months of the year in 2013

  2. How much can you make from ssi and disability,before you have to do a tax form? Like my sister get ssi of $800+ and her Son gets $1050.00 a month do they have to pay taxes on these amounts?

    1. My sister-in-law received SSI and disability totalling around $12, 000. for 2013 due to retro pay and adjustments. Does she have to file a tax return this year. I have claimed her in past years due to her getting less that $6,000 and I provided over 50% of her support.

  3. I’m 77 yrs old.
    Soc. Security $19,000
    G.E. Retirement $2318
    Personal contracting work: $3323
    Do I have to file income tax for 2013?
    Thank you

      1. Hi Judy,
        Yes, unemployment is still taxable and you may even qualify for refundable tax credits and get a tax refund.
        Thank you,
        Lisa Greene-Lewis

  4. Such informative web site! Large thanks! Thanks for a good time visiting blog.turbotax.intuit.com . It is really a pleasure understanding a web site like this filled with nice information. Thanks!

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