Almost every day you can hear news about countries that don't have such services.
So, who has to file a tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and with your state's department of revenue?
It depends on the amount of money you made and other factors. And even if you don't have to file, you may want to. If your employer withheld money from your paychecks for tax purposes, filing is the only way to get a refund even if you don't owe any tax.
I'm a student. Do I have to file taxes?
Where do you start?
Start by determining your dependency status. Generally, parents can claim students who live with them as dependents on the parents' tax return, but that's not the only test.
If your parents claimed you as a dependent and you are single, answer these questions:
- Was your unearned income more than $950?
- Was your earned income more than $5,800?
- Was the total of your unearned and earned income (your gross income) more than the larger of:
- $950 or
- Your earned income plus $300?
If you can answer yes to any of the above questions, you probably have to file a federal income tax return.
Not a dependent and gross income at least $9,500? You might have to pay.
If you're a dependent and can answer no to all three questions above, you don't have to file.
And it bears repeating—even if you don't have to file, you may want to. Filing is the only way to get a refund if your employer withheld money from your paychecks for tax purposes.
What about students who are not claimed as dependents on their parent's tax forms? If your 2011 gross income was at least $9,500, you probably have to file a federal income tax form.
Now you're ready to complete your tax forms and find out if you will get a refund.
You'll need some federal forms...