Five Reasons Why You Should File A Tax Return

Larry Villano, Publisher of

Even if you're not required to file a return because your income is too low, you should still file a tax return. Here are five reasons why:

1. Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

With qualifying children:

Did you work and earn less than $51,567 last year? You could be eligible for the EITC and receive a hefty tax refund. Families with qualifying children may be eligible for as much as $6,044.

Without qualifying children:

Even if you had no children, you may qualify for the EITC if your earned income and adjusted gross income are less than $14,340 ($19,680 married filing jointly). You must be at least 25 years old but under 65 at the end of the year, lived in the United States for more than half the year, and not qualify as a dependent of another person. For taxpayers with no qualifying children, the maximum credit is $487.

The EITC is a refundable tax credit. This means, if the credit is more than your tax liability, you get the difference refunded to you. If your tax liability is zero before applying the credt, you get the entire amount of the credit refunded to you!

You must file a tax return to claim this credit and get a refund.

2. Additional Child Tax Credit

Do you have at least one child that qualifies for the Child Tax Credit? If you don’t get the full credit amount, you may qualify for the Additional Child Tax Credit. To claim it, you need to file Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit, with your tax return.

3. American Opportunity Credit

Are you a student or do you support a student? If so, you may be eligible for this credit. Students in their first four years of higher education may qualify for as much as $2,500. Even those who owe no tax may get up to $1,000 of the credit refunded per eligible student. You must file Form 8863, Education Credits, with your tax return to claim this credit.

4. Health Coverage Tax Credit

Did you receive Trade Adjustment Assistance, Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance, Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance or pension benefit payments from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation?

If so, you may qualify for the Health Coverage Tax Credit. The HCTC helps make health insurance more affordable for you and your family. This credit pays 72.5 percent of qualified health insurance premiums. Visit for more on this credit.

5. Tax Withheld or Paid

Did your employer withhold federal income tax from your pay? Did you make estimated tax payments? Did you overpay last year and have it applied to this year’s tax? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you could be due a refund. But you have to file a tax return to get it.

Don't cheat yourself out of what may be legally yours!

Check to see if you would benefit from filing a federal tax return. You may qualify for a tax refund even if you're not required to file a tax return and even if you don't owe any taxes. But, you must file a tax return to claim your money, the IRS won't figure it out for you.