Do I Have to File a 2011 Tax Return?

March 27, 2012 by  Filed under: Taxes 

Unsure about whether you have to file a 2011 income tax return with the IRS? The easiest way to figure it out is to take a look at how much income you received over the course of the year.

Below certain levels of income, the IRS does not require you to file a return. These income thresholds vary according to filing status and age.

For single filers the income threshold is

  • $9,500 for those under age 65
  • $10,500 for those 65 and older

For married couples filing jointly the income threshold is

  • $19,000 if both spouses are under 65
  • $20,150 if only one spouse is 65 or older
  • $21,300 if both spouses are 65 or older

For married individuals filing separately the income threshold is

  • $3,700 for any age

For heads of household the income threshold is

  • $12,200 for those under 65
  • $13,650 for those 65 or older

For qualifying widow(er)s with a dependent child the income threshold is

  • $15,300 for those under 65
  • $16,450 for those 65 or older

The rules are slightly different for dependents. Dependents have to file a tax return if their

  • unearned income is greater than $950
  • earned income is greater than $5,800, or their
  • gross income is greater than $950 or their earned income (up to $5,500) plus $300, whichever is greater.

You should note, however, that married dependents as well as dependents who are 65 and older or blind are subject to slightly different thresholds.

To be absolutely sure if you have to file a return, consult the IRS’s 1040 Instructions booklet, especially Charts A, B, and C on pages 8-9. This information will give the threshold for every possible filing situation.

But just because you aren’t legally obligated to file doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t file. You could very well get money back in the form of a refund.

If any federal income tax was withheld from your paychecks – and your income is below the threshold – the overwhelming likelihood is that you will get some of that money back.

The Earned Income Credit is another source of potential refund dollars for taxpayers who earned money from working, but did not earn very much. The credit is especially beneficial if you have qualifying children.

Eligible students could get a refund of up to $2,500 with the American Opportunity Credit.

All told, a refund from these and other sources could amount to hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

The moral of the story? Even if you aren’t required to file, you should check to see if you are due a refund before you forget about taxes until next year.

Curran Boomer is a tax enthusiast who enjoys helping people save money on current and late taxes.

Article Source:
http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Curran_M_Boomer

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