TurboTax Answers Most Commonly Asked Tax Questions (1440 x 600 px)
TurboTax Answers Most Commonly Asked Tax Questions (411 x 600 px)

TurboTax Answers Most Commonly Asked Tax Questions

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Although the federal tax deadline is April 15, taxpayers are encouraged to file their taxes now to get their refund ASAP. Most people receive a tax refund each year, and last year, the average federal tax refund was more than 3,000. As taxpayers continue to file their taxes, we are seeing a wide range of tax questions which range from those asked routinely, “can I claim my boyfriend/girlfriend as a dependent?” to those specific to certain credits and deductions this year. To help make the filing process as easy as possible, we’ve answered the most commonly asked questions for this tax season.

Who Can I Claim as a Dependent?

Your significant other probably means many things to you—but are they also worth a deduction or credit? The question of who you can claim as a dependent has confused taxpayers for years.

The short answer: You can claim a “qualifying child” or “qualifying relative” if they meet specific requirements related to residence, relationship to you, age, financial support provided, and income. You may also be able to claim your significant other or friend as a qualifying relative in some cases. You no longer get a dependent exemption for your dependents, but being able to claim them can also make you eligible for other tax benefits.  You may be able to claim credits like the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for your qualifying child and the Other Dependent Credit (ODC) for your qualifying relative.

You may be able to take the Other Dependent Credit worth $500 if:

  • You are providing support for a non-child dependent like another family member, boyfriend, girlfriend, domestic partner, or friend. You can also claim this credit for your kids 17 and over since you cannot claim the Child Tax Credit once they turn 17 for tax year 2023.
  • They are a member of your household the entire year if they are a non-relative (relatives don’t need to live with you).
  • The relationship between you and the dependent girlfriend/boyfriend does not violate the law; for example, you cannot still be married to someone else. (Also, check regarding your individual state law, as some states do not allow you to claim a boyfriend or girlfriend as a dependent even if your relationship doesn’t violate the law).
  • You meet all the other criteria for “qualifying relatives” (gross income and support).

What is the Earned Income Tax Credit and How Do I Claim it?

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a tax credit for low to middle income wage earners that has lifted millions of people out of poverty, but many people still miss it. Why do so many people miss it? Many think they don’t make enough to file their taxes, so they don’t claim it, or their income changed, but they are not aware that they can qualify. You have to file to get this valuable tax credit, which may help a family with three children who qualify receive a credit worth up to $7,430 for 2023. Families without children may qualify for a credit up to $600.

Does Health Care Reform Still Impact My Taxes?

With tax reform enacted at the end of 2017, there have been questions around the requirements to have health care coverage. Under tax reform, effective as of tax year 2019, the tax penalty for not having health insurance is eliminated. Taxpayers will no longer be required to pay a tax penalty for not having health insurance. 

If you receive health insurance coverage in a qualified health insurance plan purchased from Healthcare.gov or through a State Marketplace, you may have received an Advanced Premium Tax Credit or subsidy to help you pay for your 2023 health insurance, which was based on your projection of your 2023 household income. If your actual income for the tax year is more than what was projected when you applied for health insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace, then you are required to pay back a portion of the excess Advance Premium Tax Credit or subsidy that you received when you file your taxes.

Are Unemployment Benefits Taxable?

Typically, unemployment income is taxable and should be included in your income for the year. Some states may also count unemployment benefits as taxable income. When it’s time to file your taxes, you will receive Form 1099-G, which will show the amount of unemployment income you received. Form 1099-G will also show any federal taxes you had withheld from your unemployment pay.

Can I Deduct the Cost of Searching for a Job? Are Moving Expenses for My New Job Tax Deductible?

Unfortunately, for tax years 2018 through 2025, the tax deduction for job search expenses was eliminated on your federal taxes under tax reform, along with all miscellaneous itemized deductions. The tax deduction for moving expenses for non-military taxpayers was also eliminated. In order to deduct certain moving expenses, you must be an active member of the military and moving due to a permanent change of duty station.

What are the Tax Implications of Withdrawing Money Early from a Retirement Account to Pay Bills or Debt?

Typically, withdrawing money early from a retirement account comes with a 10 percent tax penalty if you withdraw your money before age 59-1/2 in addition to the regular income tax on the amount withdrawn. There can be other consequences, too. The retirement money may also bump you into a higher tax bracket, which can result in the taxation of other income, such as social security, that you may have not been taxed on otherwise.

I Was Impacted by a Natural Disaster in 2023. What Tax Breaks Are Available to Me?

Prior to tax reform, you were able to deduct most losses for uninsured casualty, disaster and theft losses. Under tax reform provisions, deductions for casualty and theft losses have changed for tax years 2018 through 2025. If you suffered a casualty or theft loss as a result of an unusual event like a flood, fire, or some other unforeseen event, you can deduct the loss if the casualty is within a federally declared disaster area or the theft occurred as a result of a federally declared disaster.

The IRS may provide additional special tax provisions to help recover financially from the impact of a disaster when the federal government declares a certain location to be a major disaster area. Depending on the circumstances, relief may be additional time to file returns and pay taxes. 

What are Qualified Education Expenses?

College tuition skyrockets every year, but the U.S. government provides incentives with education credits and deductions. For example, the American Opportunity Tax Credit benefits full-time and part-time college students in their first four years of college with a maximum $2,500 credit per student, provided you meet modified adjusted gross income requirements. You may also be eligible for the Lifetime Learning Credit up to $2,000, even if you take one college course.

I Started My Own Business. Can I Deduct My Home Office Expenses?

Many entrepreneurs are reluctant to write off the business use of their home for fear of being audited. But home office expenses are legitimate tax deductions you shouldn’t miss out on. Keep in mind the space you claim as a home office should be used exclusively and regularly for that purpose. Don’t forget to include the square footage of your home office used for product storage or inventory.

What If I Still Have Questions?

Don’t worry about knowing these tax laws. No matter what moves you made last year, TurboTax will make them count on your taxes. Whether you want to do your taxes yourself or have a TurboTax expert file for you, we’ll make sure you get every dollar you deserve and your biggest possible refund – guaranteed. 

243 responses to “TurboTax Answers Most Commonly Asked Tax Questions”

  1. My brother is married his wife went and did her taxes and filed that she is single. She has an dependent. Could this affect him when He file. Should He file married filing separate or should he file single too.

  2. Cam I claim my boyfriend, who is a full time student, and has also partially worked the year( having 2 w2)? and if I submitted my taxes already, can we make changes?

    • Hi Payton,
      The fact that he is a full-time student would only be relative if you were trying to claim him and you are his parent. For you, you could only claim him(a non-relative), if he lived with you the entire year, you provided over half of his support, and he didn’t earn over $3,950. TurboTax will walk you through claiming dependents and give you the deduction if you are eligible.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  3. received payment for a job in 2015 but ALL my expensives were in 2014, how do I get to deduct my expensives in Turbotax without showing a large profit in 2015 taxes next year.
    I have a machine shop in my home and I do this at night.

  4. My husband worked at a job for a couple months last yr and has a W-2 then started up his own business. I worked at a job and have a W-2. Do we have to file together?

    • Hi Tamara,
      You don’t have to. You could file married filing separately instead of married filing jointly, but either way you have to file as married. In most cases, couples get a bigger tax refund or have less tax liability when they file as married filing jointly, because the tax rate is lower and when you file married filing jointly you are eligible for tax deductions and credits that you can’t take if you file married filing separately.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

      • To TurbotaxLisa, Thank you so much for answering my question. You have helped me a ton!!! I really appreciate your quick response!!!

  5. My parents claimed me as a dependant. I was not in school more than 5 months full time but did live with them. They claim my college credi and tax document for school but didn’t claim my I come of $20k. Do
    Should they be able to claim me or should I call the IRS so I can claim my own taxes?

    • Hi Alli,
      If you are a full-time student under the age of 24 you would be considered a “qualifying child” and your income would not come into play in order for them to claim you. If that is the case as long as you didn’t provide over half of your own support they can claim you.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  6. Say I claim a dependent whio may owe the government money. If I claim that individual will the government take what he/she owes out of my returns??

  7. my daugther support me with money, should I declared in my taxes this year. I got my job and I will do my own taxes

  8. I’ve Only Worked For Less Than 6 Months And I Received A W-2 From My Work. Do I Have To File? My Parents Also Claimed Me This Year With Their Taxes. So I Wouldn’t Be Able To Claim Myself If My Parents Already Did Right? I’m Confused It’s My First Year Please Help? Please Email Me

  9. I have had 3 jobs. I worked for the state at a university and for a grocery store that changed ownership so I got 2 different w-2s. So, I have a total of 3 w-2 forms. I have no deductions and dependents and don’t own a house or have aNY stocks bonds or other things to that kind. Can I still use a 1040 ez or a for this?

  10. My husband and I were insured all last year, ( we had a family plan) and received the subsidy through the healthcare market place. We file our taxes separately every year. How do we file separately again legally, without being penalized.

  11. I had twins at the beginning of last year and two other children, I only made $4300 due to a lengthy medical leave due to the twins birth, why am I only receiving $2000 back on my income tax, does the amount of children not have an influence on the amount?

  12. Can I claim my 2 adult children (26 & 22) if still living in my home? They both have jobs but I still am main supporter

  13. I had a baby in sep of 2014 he had heart problems so he passed away in october of 2014 will i be able to claim him as a dependant when i file my taxes this year

  14. my wife retired las jan. and withdraw her retirement pay and her 401k and then april of 2014, she open her own business as sole propreitorship. can we file a joint return for 2014 then she can file her own taxes as a sole proprietorship..

  15. I used turbo tax to file my taxes.Do they also file my rent credit?Or do I have to mail that in myself?

  16. My wife and I are partners in an LLC. I was told that each partner can automatically claim a $3800 deduction on our individual returns. Is this true?

  17. My wife sold a house in Mississippi this year and we used part of the money to pay off a mobile home that is in our daughter’s name. We lived in the trailer but we also bought another house that we moved into. The mobile home is being sold. Do I owe taxes on the money from Mississippi or would the mobile home have to be put in my name first?

  18. I am receiving social security benefits. I also am making mortgage payments on my house. If I stay in the range and don’t pay taxes would I still be able to get refund from interest being paid on mortgages. thank you

  19. For the 2014 tax year i adopted 4 children. i was told that i could get a one time payment of 13,000 per child. is this true

  20. My husband & I receive approximately $32,000 a year in Social Security. When we were preparing 2013 taxes, it said we owed no taxes. But we have itemized deductions that would have probably given us a refund. What do we do about that? Can we still get a refund when not owing taxes?

  21. What’s the min. Someone can get back for a dependent in 2013 and when is the latest u can file ur taxes

  22. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently fast.

  23. My daughter is 16, worked part time and earned $572.00 in 2013 and received a W2. As her parents we claimed her as a dependent. Does she need to file a tax return?

  24. For 2013 i earned roughly $4000.
    Was in college for half the year, and am being claimed as a dependent by my mother.

    Do i have to file taxes this year for 2013?

    • Hi John,
      You do not make the income threshold to require you to file taxes, but you may be able to get a tax refund if you had taxes taken out. If you do file your taxes, you will not be able to claim an exemption for yourself.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  25. Hello,
    I am a divorced father of 2. My kids are with me a minimum of 2-3 nights per week. I pay their healthcare, pay support to their mother etc. She claims both of them on her taxes. Can I claim head of household?
    Thank you.

    • Hi,
      To qualify as head of household your kids have to live with you more than half the year. TurboTax will ask you the necessary questions to give you the deductions and credits you’re eligible for.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  26. I’m getting slammed this year due to my wages vs lose of home deductions, dependents, head of household, etc. due to a divorce. I’m over 50 yrs of age and contribute 15% of my annual wages to a company sponsored 401K…..To lower the $5,000 amount that I owe on top of the 12,000 already paid via payroll tax deductions….Can I offset the tax burden of $5k and write a check for $5k to my 401k prior to April 15th? I’d rather pay myself rather than the government.

    • Hi Sean, Sorry to hear about your tax return for this year. You’re asking a good question, however the contributions for your 401(K) are taken out of your wages each paycheck and reduce the amount of wages that is taxable. Your contributions can only be made through your paycheck. You can’t contribute directly to your 401(k).

      Lee

  27. I receive a FERS (not CSRS) annuity from the US Postal Service. Turbo tax is not clear on which selection to make for the 1099R. It doesn’t seem right to choose the 401K category for a pension. Help would be appreciated…

  28. My boyfriend and I opened a business in 2013. We did not incorporate and instead opened it as a sole proprietor. We do business with multiple companies and received 1099’s for them. Some of the 1099’s came with his info and some came with my info. We are so confused as to how to do our taxes. We are children together but are not legally married. How do we determine what portion of the business each one claims. Can I claim everything myself?

    • Hi Liz,
      If you are not incorporated you would each have to prepare your taxes separately and claim the 1099s on each of your taxes according to who they are issued to. You could not claim everything yourself since the 1099s are tied to your individual social security numbers and the IRS will match the 1099 copies they receive to your individual tax returns so file only the 1099s that are made out to you and your boyfriend will have to file the ones made out to him on his tax return. TurboTax will guide you through accurately filing your taxes and if you have any questions while you’re preparing your taxes you can ask our tax experts who are CPAs and Enrolled Agents your question.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  29. I didn’t pay my 2012 taxes couldn’t afford to pay I recently amended them in order to claim eic for my child and now expect a refund. I got a notice stating they Took $500 from 2013 due to non payment for 2012 will they send a check back as I no longer owe them?

  30. I’ve heard the starting next year (2014 tax season). That you’ll no longer be able to claim your child or non working spouse as a dependant. Is that true?

  31. Can i get my money back if I put dependents on my w2 forms and I was not supposed to put any?

    • Most likely you will owe IRS. Plus you are lying to the governtment when you claim dependants thst you are not entitle.

  32. If you are claiming your girlfriend as a dependent, what option do you pick from the drop down box? I don’t see an option that will fit. thank you

    • Hi,
      In the drop down menu select “other” and then answer the rest of the questions. If you claim a non-relative you have to answer the question about whether or not they live with you the entire year, you provide over half of their support, they make less than $3,900 earned income for the year, and citizenship.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  33. My ex did not claim my daughter last year 2012 taxes. He said I could claim my daughter this year 2013 taxes. I didn’t work in 2012 can I claim her on my taxes this year for 2012?

    Im just trying to figure out what I can do for this years taxes on claiming my daughter

  34. I have been on unemployment, for 2013 collected 12,488 in income, I have one dependent, can I get a refund still?

  35. I use turbo tax to guide me through the tax process it asked my filing status and i filed married seperate return. I was asked aboit child care expenses. I answered the questions and it calculated 600 towards this expense. My return refund was changed by the ira and my refund reduced by 600 because you cant claim this deduction if your filing status is married filing separately. I am really dissatisfied with the turbo tax product and feel i should get a reduction in my preparation fees.

  36. My boyfriends in jail and he’s telling me I can file he’s taxes he never claimed from 2009 to 2010 how can I get poa and he’s w2 forms??!! He said he doesn’t have them I have to go to he’s old job but how can I do this?!?!? Please help!!

  37. Am I able to file for a tax refund I got my w2 from ihss I made 4,726 it show all $0 with federal,Medicare, social security tax withheld I called the payroll they said its because I made to little to take taxes out.. I’m so confused ?? Last year my made way lesser n I was able to do tax n some tax we’re takin out

  38. I bought a heat pump in jan 2014. Can I claim my credit on this years taxes(2013) or do I have to wait until 2014 taxes?

    • If you purchased the item in 2014 you can not claim it fpr the tax year 2013. You have to wait.

  39. can i file for taxes using a 1098-t form and claim my daughter if i didnt work in 2013… shes 6 months

  40. I am planning on using the Home and Business version for my husband and myself to file jointly and use schedule C to report sole proprietor income. Our college age student has income and wants to apply for his refund. Can I use the same software- chosing the 1040EZ form-or must I purchase another set of software for his return?

  41. Can i claim my mom as dependent? I support her financially regularly on a monthly basis. She lived here for about 6 months but decided to go back to El Salvador she has SSN. Does she qualify since she is in Cental America?

    Thank you.

  42. My employee benefits package includes flexible spending account which I take advantage of. This year I had expenses in excess of the amount set aside in the account. Can I deduct them?

  43. My grandson borrowed money and signed a promissory note. He and his wife divorced and he has moved out of town and has not made anymore payments since May. Can I claim this as a loss?