Whether we prepare your tax return for you, or you prepare it yourself (perhaps using MyFreeTaxes), these FAQs may be of assistance.

  1. Do I Need to File a Tax Return? Refer to Who Must File in Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information. This interview (from the IRS) will further help you determine if you're required to file a federal tax return or if you should file to receive a refund.

  2. What Is My Filing Status? This interview (from the IRS) will help you to determine your filing status.

  3. Whom May I Claim as a Dependent? This interview (from the IRS) will help you determine whom you may claim as a dependent.

  4. Do I have to file a tax return even if my parents claim me as a dependent? This is a topic that is commonly misunderstood. Many wrongly suppose that dependents are never required to file a tax return, or never benefit from doing so. In fact, dependents with income are frequently required to file a tax return or should do so to receive a refund. Single dependents under age 65 must file a return if any of the following apply. 1. Your unearned income was over $1,050. 2. Your earned income was over $12,000. 3. Your gross income was more than the larger of — a. $1,050, or b. Your earned income (up to $11,650) plus $350. But a dependent who is not required to file and who owes no tax may still wish to file to receive a refund of tax that was withheld. (The amount of tax withheld will be indicated in box 2 of any W2 form supplied by an employer.) For more information, refer to Dependents under Who Must File in Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.  See also FAQ 1.

  5. Must a tax return indicate that the taxpayer can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer, even if that person is not claimed as a dependent by the other? Yes.

  6. May a person who is claimed as a dependent by another claim an Education Credit such as the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit? No. Those credits can only be claimed by the taxpayer (parent) who claimed the student as their dependent. But, the student can take the credit if the parent did not claim them as a dependent.

  7. What is a Tax Deduction? A tax deduction reduces the amount of income that is taxable.

  8. What is the Standard Deduction? The standard deduction is a dollar amount that non-itemizers may subtract from their income before income tax is calculated. Taxpayers may choose to take the standard deduction, or to itemize deductions, whichever results in the lesser amount of tax due. Most (but not all) VITA clients will benefit from taking the standard deduction, and so need not spend time assembling the documents needed to itemize.

  9. How Much is My Standard Deduction? This IRS webpage answers that question.

  10. What is the difference between the Standard Deduction and Itemized Deductions? See this webpage for an explanation.

  11. Should I Itemize Deductions? This IRS webpage will help you to understand the answer to that question.

  12. What is a tax credit? A tax credit is subtracted from the amount of tax owed. Thus, a credit reduces the amount of tax due, dollar for dollar.

  13. What is a refundable tax credit? A refundable tax credit is a credit which can reduce your tax liability below zero and allow you to receive a tax refund. If you qualify for a refundable credit and the amount of the credit is larger than the tax you owe, you will receive a refund for the difference. The Earned Income Tax Credit is refundable, and the Child Tax Credit is partially refundable.

  14. What Documents Do I Need? This checklist from TurboTax will help you gather needed documents.

  15. How do I get a 1099-G for Unemployment Compensation? Neither CT nor NY mail out 1099-G forms.

  16. Where’s My Refund? Check the status of your federal refund using this IRS web page. Note that the IRS will not send you any emails regarding the status of your return or your refund. Please do not ask us to look up the status of your refund.