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Who should file a 2012 tax return?

Thursday, February 14th, 2013
Issue 07, Volume 17.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Depending on various factors, those who received income during 2012 may need to file a tax return in 2013. The amount of the individual’s income, filing status, age and the type of income will determine whether one is required to file. Some may qualify for a refund if they’ve had too much federal income tax withheld from their pay or qualify for certain tax credits.

Income tax filing requirements can be found on The instructions for Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ also list filing requirements. The Interactive Tax Assistant tool, also available on the IRS website, is another helpful resource. The ITA tool answers many tax law questions including whether one needs to file a return.

Even if one has determined that they don’t need to file a tax return this year, they may still want to file. Here are five reasons why:

1. Federal income tax withheld – If an employer withheld federal income tax from one’s pay, if a person made estimated tax payments, or had a prior year overpayment applied to this year’s tax, they could be due a refund. File a return to claim any excess tax paid during the year.

2. Earned Income Tax Credit – If a person worked but earned less than $50,270 last year, they may qualify for EITC. EITC is a refundable tax credit; which means if one qualifies, they could receive EITC as a tax refund. Families with qualifying children may qualify to get up to $5,891 dollars. A person cannot get the credit unless they file a return and claim it. Use the EITC Assistant on the website to see if a person qualifies.

3. Additional Child Tax Credit – If a person has at least one qualifying child and doesn’t get the full amount of the Child Tax Credit, they may qualify for this additional refundable credit. They must file and use new Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit, to claim the credit.

4. American Opportunity Credit – If a person supports a student or is a student themselves, they 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. Form 8863, Education Credits, should be filed along with the tax return to claim the credit.

5. Health Coverage Tax Credit – If one is receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance, Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance, Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance or pension benefit payments from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, they may be eligible for a 2012 Health Coverage Tax Credit. Spouses and dependents may also be eligible. Those eligible can receive a 72.5 percent tax credit on payments made for qualified health insurance premiums.

For more information about filing requirements and tax credits, visit



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