You should file it as soon as possible. If you have owe tax (a balance due) you will probably have a failure-to-file and a failure-to-pay-on-time penalty plus interest. If you had overpaid, there are no penalties. You will get the refund if you do not file. However, you have only three years from the due date of the return to file and claim a refund.

No. 2017 Gross Income for Federal filing requirement: $10,300 for single under 65 $11,850 for single 65 or older $20,600 for married filing jointly under 65 $21,850 for married filing jointly 65 or older

Yes, it is possible some of benefits taxable. When your Social Security benefits exceed a certain amount, it would be partial taxable. You may use either Form 1040 or Form 1040A to report taxable social security benefits. The instructions for both those forms have a worksheet that you may use to calculate the taxable portion. You can also use the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant to compute the taxable portion.

Whether or not you have to file will depend upon whether your earned and/or unearned income exceeds certain limits. See the two sections in IRS Pub 501 called “Self-employed Persons” and “Dependents.” You can also use the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant to determine if you have a filing requirement. Even if you find that filing a return is not required, you should file a federal income tax return to obtain a refund of any income tax withheld from your pay on your part-time jobs.

If you are a full-time student under age 24, you are your father’s qualifying child if you live with him for more than six months (which includes time living at college) and you are not self-supporting. You would be self-supporting if you provided more than half of your own total support. Total support includes the fair market value of any lodging provided to you, utilities, repairs to the household, food, clothing, education, medical, dental, travel and recreation expenses. If you are self-supporting, then your father may not claim you and you should claim your own exemption. But if you are not self-supporting, only your father can claim your exemption.

If you were married on the last day of the year, you must file as either married filing jointly or married filing separately. However, if you can meet the following rules, you might be able to file as head of household:

  • You do not file a joint return.
  • You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home for the tax year.
  • Your spouse did not live with you for even one day in your home during the last 6 months of the tax year. The spouse is considered as living in the home even if temporarily absent because of special circumstances, such as illness or business.
  • Your home was the main home of your child, stepchild, adopted child, or foster child for more than half the year.
  • You must be able to claim an exemption for the child, unless you cannot claim the exemption only because the non-custodial parent is allowed to claim the exemption.

In order to file as “Head of Household” (HOH) you must have a qualifying child living with you in your home for which you have paid more than half the living expenses during the year. Failing that, you both may only file as married separately or married filing jointly. It depends on your specific circumstances to decide which filing status is most preferable to you.

I am living with my girlfriend and our child. We’re not married. We are both contributing to the cost of maintaining the household for the child and ourselves. Can we both file as head of household?

Only one parent in the household can file as head of household. A taxpayer filing as head of household must furnish more than half the cost of maintaining the household. The infant is the qualifying child of each parent. The parent who provided more than half of the cost of maintaining that household may file as head of household. The other parent would have to file as single.

I am a single parent with a qualifying child. We live with my mother in her home. The child’s other parent did not live with us. My mother and I share the expenses. My adjusted gross income (AGI) is $28,000 and my mother’s AGI is $35,000. Who can claim my child as a dependent?

  • If the child is residing in the same household as the mother and grandmother, the child is the qualifying child of two taxpayers. Because the grandmother’s AGI is higher than the parent, they can agree between themselves who will take the exemption. If they can’t agree, the tie-breaking rule states that the exemption goes to the parent. If the parent had a higher AGI than the grandmother, only the parent could claim the child.

Please note that once the determination is made as to who gets the exemption, the taxpayer with the exemption is the only one who can treat that child as a qualifying child for all the other tax benefits, such as the child tax credit, earned income credit, child and dependent care credit and filing as head of household.

How will the Affordable Care Act affect me when I file my tax returns?

  • The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires a taxpayer and each member of his/her family to have qualifying health insurance known as Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) OR have an exemption at the time a return is filed OR make a Shared Responsibility Payment (SRP) when the taxpayer files his/her federal income tax return. How it affects you depends on your situation.

Taxpayers are encouraged to have required documents when they arrive at an AARP Tax-Aide site to get their returns completed. If they don’t have the documents, they could be asked to return at a later date or told that their return can’t be prepared until they have all the information.

What health insurance documents will I need to bring to the site to complete my return?

  • You will need to bring these documents:
    1. Health insurance coverage information for taxpayer, spouse and all dependents;
    2. Information showing which months you or the other people in your family didn’t have health insurance coverage if they didn’t have it for the full year;
    3. If health insurance was purchased through the Marketplace/Exchange then you should bring Form 1095-A, which should be received by January 31;
    4. Documentation, if any, of a Health Coverage Exemption received from the IRS or the Marketplace/Exchange;
    5. All information needed to complete the returns for the taxpayer/spouse and for each dependent that has a filing requirement

What happens if I don’t know where to find the documents related to my health care coverage?

The IRS provides information to assist you at Information about the Marketplace/Exchange can be found at For more information on the Affordable Care Act, go to If you are over age 60, you can also contact your local Area Agency on Aging (look in the government pages in your phone book or call your local government office for more information). I am over age 65 and receive Medicare. My spouse is 56 and she works full-time and has medical insurance from her employer. How does the Affordable Care Act affect us?

  • Taxpayers who are covered by an employee health plan for a full year will meet all minimum essential coverage (MEC) requirements. If a taxpayer is enrolled in Medicare or Medicare Advantage for the full year, all MEC requirements have been met and no further information is required.
  • If your dependents are not covered by insurance for the full year, then you will need to bring information about any insurance that they do have, as well as information on any income that these dependent(s) earned during the year.

There are several possible exemptions including:

  1. Exemptions granted by the Marketplace
  2. Exemptions that can be claimed by the taxpayer on the return when it is filed;
  3. Hardship exemptions

Some of the Exemptions are based upon your level of household income, living status or your membership in certain groups (such as certain religious sects, or Indian tribes). You can read more about Exemptions, including when and how to apply, at

Yes, “pending” can be entered as the exemption certificate number on IRS Form 8965. Remember that if you are later denied the exemption, your return will have to be amended, which might result in more tax liability.

No. Gifts to individuals are not deductible as charitable contributions. Only amounts contributed to qualified organizations, such as nonprofit groups that are religious, charitable, educational, scientific, or literary in purpose, or that work to prevent cruelty to children or animals are tax deductible.

Child support payments are not taxable. Alimony payments received are taxable.

Qualified scholarships and fellowships may be treated as tax-free amounts if you are a candidate for a degree at an educational institution and:

  1. The amount does not exceed your qualified education expenses – tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance at the educational institution, or for books, supplies, and equipment required for courses of instruction.
  2. The scholarship or fellowship is not designated or earmarked for other purposes (such as room and board), and does not require (by its terms) that it cannot be used for qualified education expenses.

The amounts received are not a payment for your services unless required by the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program or the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship and Financial Assistance Program

The earned income tax credit (EITC) is a refundable credit. (A refundable credit is a tax credit that may provide a refund even if you have no tax liability.) The EITC is available to certain individuals and families who have low to moderate levels of earned income (from wages, salaries, tips, bonuses and/or net earnings from self-employment) and are taking care of at least one child and up to three qualified children. In certain cases, a taxpayer with low earned income and no children may also qualify. The IRS has a variety of tools available to see if you qualify. You can access them at the IRS EITC Home Page.

A qualifying child for the earned income tax credit (EITC) must meet three tests: age, relationship and residency. Your son or daughter or lineal descendant of your son or daughter passes the first two tests if he/she is either under age 19 or under age 24 and a full-time student. The qualifying child must also reside with you in your home for more than six months of the year. Temporary absences for illness or school are OK. It is possible, under the living conditions you describe, that the child is the qualifying child of both the parent and the grandparent. In such cases, either the parent or the grandparent can treat that child as their qualifying child as long as the grandparent has a higher adjusted gross income (AGI) than the parent. If the parent’s AGI is higher, then only the parent may treat the child as a qualifying child. Once the determination is made as to who may treat the child as a qualifying child, it is that person who can claim the EITC, assuming that all the other rules for the EITC are met. Also, please note that once it is determined which taxpayer has the qualifying child, the other taxpayer is not entitled to any other tax benefit for that child.

Child support payments and alimony are not included as earned income, nor are they considered investment income, for purposes of eligibility for the earned income tax credit (EITC). Child support payments are also not included in adjusted gross income. However, alimony payments are included in adjusted gross income and will affect the amount of EITC you receive.

No. Your eligibility for the earned income tax credit (EITC) for any given year is based on the set of facts for that particular year. If you have a qualifying child, your earnings and adjusted gross income are within the requisite limits, and everyone has a Social Security number, you would qualify for the EITC regardless of how you filed in a prior year.

Neither you nor your parents are eligible for the deduction in this unfortunate. Even though you are making the payments, you did not take out the loan and do not have primary responsibility for repaying it. Your parents are not eligible for the deduction because they did not pay the student loan interest. Always remember that it is the taxpayer’s responsibility to figure and claim the Student Loan Interest Deduction correctly.

Child support payments to a spouse or ex-spouse are not alimony and are not tax deductible. Alimony payments you make to a spouse or ex-spouse are tax deductible. In order to determine whether you are paying alimony or child support, you will need to look at your divorce decree or separation agreement or court order that ordered the payments. Any payment that is specifically designated as child support or treated as specifically designated as child support under your divorce or separation instrument is not alimony. The amount of child support may vary over time. Any other payment may or may not be alimony. For example, it may be considered a property settlement and not tax deductible. You should discuss this issue with your attorney.

IRS: Telephone Assistance for Individuals: Toll-Free, 800-829-1040 Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time). Telephone Assistance for Businesses: Toll-Free, 800-829-4933 Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time). Telephone Assistance for people with hearing impairments: Toll-Free 800-829-4059 (TDD) Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).

  • Franchise Tax Board (800) 852-5711

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