What’s your filing status?
One of the most common mistakes taxpayers make is choosing the wrong filing status. A short lesson on the tax filing statuses could help ensure you pay only what you owe in taxes and get back the tax refund you’re due.
If it’s been a while since you filled out a tax form using a pen, you might have forgotten about the filing status tax tables. These tables show how taxes are applied based on your filing status. All the tax brackets for the various income tax statuses range from 10% to 37%, but the points at which you move from one rate to the next change based on your filing status. If you choose the wrong filing status, you very likely won’t be taxed accurately. Also, because the amount of the standard deduction is different for each filing status, choosing the wrong one could result in paying more taxes than you have to.
So, choosing the correct filing status is very important. If you’re wondering “What’s my filing status?”, read on to learn more about the IRS filing statuses with some information about each one.
Those who aren’t married can file as single. Your marital status on Dec. 31 of the tax year determines your filing status.
This means taxpayers who weren’t divorced on Dec. 31 must continue to use one of the filing statuses for married couples, which are usually married filing jointly and married filing separately. In some cases, married and single individuals might be able to file as head of household.
Married filing jointly
Usually, married people file as a joint income tax status because of the added tax benefits. This includes being able to claim certain credits. Also, if your spouse died in the tax year you’re filing for, you can likely file as married filing jointly.
Married filing separately
Filing separately can sometimes lower a tax bill. For example, if one of the spouses has low income and high medical bills, it could work in their favor to file separately to claim these expenses as itemized deductions. This is because their spouse’s income could make it difficult to reach the threshold for claiming medical expenses. These expenses must be more than 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) for you to claim them. In this example, you can only claim the amount that’s more than 10% of your AGI.
Head of household with a qualifying person
To use the head of household filing status, these must be true:
- You must be either single or considered unmarried on the last day of the year.
- Married taxpayers count as single for tax purposes if they haven’t lived in the same home as their spouse for at least the last six months of the year.
- You must have paid more than half of the cost of having a home for yourself and your qualifying child or other qualifying relative.
- If you maintain a home for your dependent parent, you might qualify to use the head of household filing status even if your parent doesn’t live with you.
Divorced taxpayers who don’t qualify to use the head of household status should file as single.
To learn more, see IRS Publication 17 or talk to one of our tax pros to learn more.
Qualifying widow(er) with a dependent child
For up to two years after a spouse’s death, the widow(er) can continue to use the married filing jointly tax rate by filing as a qualified widow(er) with a dependent child. If you remarry, you can’t claim this filing status anymore.
No, “It’s complicated” isn’t a filing status, but certain big life changes can make it hard to determine your correct tax filing status. In fact, some people find themselves eligible for more than one status.
– A common example is when spouses with children are in the process of getting a divorce or have separated.
– Depending on the specifics of their situation, parents who are divorcing or separated might be able to file under three filing statuses: married filing jointly, married filing separately, or head of household with qualifying person.
– Another time you might qualify for multiple tax filing statuses is if you’re single with a child or other qualifying relative. You might be able to file as either single or head of household.
– Guessing what your filing status is or assuming it’s the same as last year could cost you, especially if your marital status has changed. If you have questions about your filing status, or any other income tax issue, contact one of our tax experts to get the help you need.
How do i notify the IRS my address has changed?
There are several ways to tell the IRS your address has changed:
Methods to Change Your Address: IRS form Use Form 8822, Change of Address or Form 8822-B, Change of Address or Responsible Party – Business Tax return use your new address when you file written statement.
Send the IRS a signed written statement with your:
- full name
- old address
- new address
- social security number, ITIN, or EIN
Mail your signed statement to the address where you filed your last return.
Oral notification (800)829-1040 Monday-Friday 7am to 7pm
Tell the IRS in person or by telephone. We’ll need you to verify your identity and the address we have on file for you. Please have ready your:
- full name
- new address
- old address
- date of birth
- social security number, ITIN or EIN
- IRS may request additional information to verify your identity.
Is there an age limit on claiming my child as a dependent?
To claim your child as your dependent, your child must meet either the qualifying child test or the qualifying relative test:
- To meet the qualifying child test, your child must be younger than you and either younger than 19 years old or be a “student” younger than 24 years old as of the end of the calendar year.
- There’s no age limit if your child is “permanently and totally disabled” or meets the qualifying relative test.
In addition to meeting the qualifying child or qualifying relative test, you can claim that person as a dependent only if these three tests are met:
- Dependent taxpayer test
- Citizen or resident test, and
- Joint return test
Can I receive a tax refund if i currently owe money to the IRS or im in a installment agreement plan
No! One of the conditions of your installment agreement is that the IRS will automatically apply any refund (or overpayment) due to you against taxes you owe. Because your refund isn’t applied toward your regular monthly payment, continue making your installment agreement payments as scheduled.
If your refund exceeds your total balance due on all outstanding tax liabilities including accruals, you’ll receive a refund of the excess unless you owe certain other past-due amounts, such as state income tax, child support, a student loan, or other federal non-tax obligations which are offset against any refund.
For more information on these non-IRS refund offsets, you can call the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) at 800-304-3107 (toll-free).
To Qualify for head of household filing status, do i have to claim my child as a dependent?
Generally, to qualify for head of household filing status, you must have a qualifying child or a dependent. However, a custodial parent may be eligible to claim head of household filing status based on a child even if he or she released a claim to exemption for the child. See Noncustodial parent is claiming an exemption for my child; do I still qualify as head of household?
What should i do if i made a mistake on my federal return that i’ve already filed?
It depends on the type of mistake you made:
- Many mathematical errors are caught during the processing of the tax return and corrected by the IRS, so you may not need to correct these mistakes.
- If you didn’t claim the correct filing status or you need to change your income, deductions, or credits, you should file an amended or corrected return using Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
When filing an amended or corrected return:
- Include copies of any forms and/or schedules that you’re changing or didn’t include with your original return.
- To avoid delays, file Form 1040-X only after you’ve filed your original return. Generally, for a credit or refund, you must file Form 1040-X within 3 years after the date you timely filed your original return or within 2 years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.
- Allow the IRS up to 16 weeks to process the amended return.
I retired last year and started receiving social security payments. Do i have to pay taxes on that?
Social security benefits include monthly retirement, survivor and disability benefits. They don’t include supplemental security income (SSI) payments, which aren’t taxable. The net amount of social security benefits that you receive from the Social Security Administration is reported in Box 5 of Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement, and you report that amount on line 5a of Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return or Form 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors (PDF). The taxable portion of the benefits that’s included in your income and used to calculate your income tax liability depends on the total amount of your income and benefits for the taxable year. You report the taxable portion of your social security benefits on line 5b of Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR.
Your benefits may be taxable if the total of (1) one-half of your benefits, plus (2) all of your other income, including tax-exempt interest, is greater than the base amount for your filing status.
The base amount for your filing status is:
- $25,000 if you’re single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er),
- $25,000 if you’re married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse for the entire year,
- $32,000 if you’re married filing jointly,
- $0 if you’re married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during the tax year.
If you’re married and file a joint return, you and your spouse must combine your incomes and social security benefits when figuring the taxable portion of your benefits. Even if your spouse didn’t receive any benefits, you must add your spouse’s income to yours when figuring on a joint return if any of your benefits are taxable.
What happens if i receive another tax form after i filed my tax returns?
If you’ve already e-filed or mailed your return to the IRS or state taxing authority, you’ll need to complete an amended return.
You can file Form 1040X through the Credit Repair Office simply book an appointment today and we will assist you.
How long do you keep my filed tax information on file?
We retain your information for as long as your account is active or as needed to provide you services. We may retain or use your information as necessary to comply with our policies, legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements. The IRS requires us to retain filed tax returns for a period of at least three years.
It is our policy that if you start, but do not complete, a tax return in our online tax programs, we will keep the tax return information you provide until the end of the tax season, after which it will be deleted from our system.
At the Credit Repair Office we utilize the Smart Vault to safely store a copy of your tax returns. Only you will have access to it. If you forgot your password you can clikc on the forgot your password link.
We cannot help you over the phone. You must come into the office to re-gain access to your account.
Click on Tax Documents
How do i know if i have to file state tax returns?
Whether you have to file state taxes depends on a few factors. In some cases, you may not be required to file state taxes if you only lived in the state a short time or if your income is below a certain level. Each state has its own rules, so it’s good to review the details for where you live and work.
In this article, we’ll provide an overview of situations that can help you determine if you are required to file state taxes. If you want to skip ahead to the rules for your state, you can find that list at the bottom of this page.
When do I have to file state taxes?
Not everyone has to file state taxes. Typically, the need to file is triggered if you live in a state (see below) and you meet certain criteria. Let’s review of few of those common situations.
- Filing a federal return – Many states will require you to file state taxes if you’re also required to file federal taxes.
- Having income over a threshold – In some states, you’ll only need to file if your income is above a certain threshold. This amount will vary state-by-state and can also vary by your filing status.
- Getting a refund – If you’ve had more state income taxes withheld from your paycheck than you owe, you could have a refund coming. However, the state won’t send you the refund automatically. You’ll need to file a return to receive it. In this situation, it may be worth it to file your state return even though it may not be a requirement.
- Claiming certain credits – If you’re eligible to claim certain refundable credits on your state tax return, you could get money back from the state. Similar to receiving a refund, you’ll first have to file your state taxes to claim the credit.
Are you required to file state taxes if you don’t live there?
If you lived in a state for an entire year, there’s no question about your residency status. But what if you moved during the year? Or, what if you were not a resident at all and you just have wage or other income from the state? Let’s go over a few scenarios when you have to file state taxes, possibly in more than one state.
- Moving from state to state – If you moved from one state to another during a tax year, you may have to file state taxes in both states. Some states base the filing requirement on a minimum number of days or months you spend in the state. In other states, moving there with the intent to stay permanently is enough to require that you file a state return, even if only for a few days. For example, you might wonder if you have to file state taxes in California if you only moved there permanently in late December. In this case, you’d be considered a resident and you’d need to file a return.
- Work in one state and live in another – Working across state lines can mean that you need to file two state returns, but it doesn’t mean that you are taxed twice. In some cases you might be able to take advantage of state income tax reciprocity, which can exempt income earned by nonresidents of neighboring states. In other cases, you might be able to receive a credit for taxes paid to the other state.
- State-based income sources – Earning income in a state can mean you have a filing requirement, even if you don’t live or work there. Examples of this could be rental income or investments such as a real estate investment trust or a partnership located in the state. Other types of income that may require filing a state return include lottery or gambling winnings or proceeds from the sale of property.
Note: These types of income are also sourced to your resident state regardless of where it’s earned. However, your resident state will generally allow a credit against state income tax for the income taxes paid to another state on the same income.
Which states don’t have income tax:
If you live or work in one of the states below that don’t have income tax, you won’t need to worry about filing a state tax return for that state.
- South Dakota
Note: New Hampshire and Tennessee are two additional states that don’t have income taxes for earned income, but they do tax dividend and interest income. That said, you may still need to file a state return for those two states.
Find details about when you have to file state taxes
Visit the revenue department websites for the state(s) where you live and work to find current details on when you are required to file state taxes. The states with no income tax are listed above and are not included here.
Get help with your state tax return:
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