Action Line: Filing income tax can be helpful even for those not required
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Friday, February 08, 2013
2/08/13 at 12:22 PM
Dear Action Line: How do you know if you are supposed to file an income tax return? I work part time for temp employers and don't see filing if I don't have to. - C.K., Turley.
The IRS began accepting and processing most individual tax returns Jan. 30 after updating forms and completing programming and testing of its processing systems to reflect the American Taxpayer Relief Act Congress enacted Jan. 2. Most taxpayers can file now, but the IRS is continuing to update its systems and forms. It will accept tax returns from people claiming education credits in mid-February while those claiming depreciation deductions, energy credits and many business credits may begin in late February to early March.
Forms yet to be approved: See a list of 30 IRS forms on credits and deductions yet to be updated at ( tulsaworld.com/IRSformsupdating) - residential energy, mortgage interest, qualified plug-in electric and electrical vehicle, energy efficient home and energy efficient appliance.
File for credits: If you received income in 2012, you might need to file a tax return by the April 15 deadline. The amount of your income, your filing status, your age and the type of income you received will determine your filing need. Even if you are not required to file you should file for too much federal tax withheld or if you qualify for tax credits.
Return filing required: Find income tax filing requirements on IRS.gov. The instructions for Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ also list filing requirements. The Interactive Tax Assistant tool ( tulsaworld.com/IRSInteractiveTaxAssistant) is another helpful resource. The tool answers tax law questions including whether you need to file a return.
Federal income tax withheld: If your employer withheld federal income tax from your pay, if you made estimated tax payments, or if you had a prior year overpayment applied to this year's tax, you could be due a refund.
Earned income tax credit: If you worked but earned less than $50,270 last year, you might qualify for EITC (tulsaworld.com/IRSEITC) This is a refundable credit meaning if you qualify you could receive EITC as a tax refund. Families with qualifying children may qualify for up to $5,891. You can't get the credit unless you file a return to claim it.
Additional child tax credit: If you have at least one qualifying child and you don't get the full amount of the Child Tax Credit, you may qualify for this additional refundable credit. You must file and use new Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit ( tulsaworld.com/IRSChildTaxCredit) to claim the credit.
American opportunity credit: If you or someone you support is a student, you might be eligible for this credit. Students in their first four years of postsecondary education may qualify for as much as $2,500 through this partially refundable credit. Even those who owe no tax can get up to $1,000 of the credit as cash back for each eligible student. You must file Form 8863, Education Credits ( tulsaworld.com/IRSForm8863), and submit it with your tax return to claim the credit.
Original Print Headline: Filing income tax helpful even if not required
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