Kathryn B. Hauer, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (TM)
Hi! Thank you for writing! Some students do need to file a tax return. The requirement whether a person needs to file or not hinges more on their income level than their status as a student. U.S. tax laws require you to file a federal income tax return if your income is above a certain level; which varies depending on your filing status, age and the type of income you receive. The levels usually change each tax year. For 2016, a taxpayer who is under age 65 and is filing as Single would need to file a return if earnings were over $10,300 (and if Married Filing Jointly over $20,600). Or if you are claimed as a dependent on your parents return and have unearned income over $1050 as Single, you’ll need to file a return. Use this interactive tool to figure out your specific case on whether you need to file or not: https://www.irs.gov/uac/do-i-need-to-file-a-tax-return. There are other special circumstance too that could necessitate your doing a return.
You also might WANT to file a return to get tax money back that you paid or get tax credits. Possible reasons include:
1. Getting Back Federal Income Tax Withheld
2. Getting a “Making Work Pay Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, Additional Child Tax Credit, American Opportunity Credit, First-Time Homebuyer Credit or Health Coverage Tax Credit
So if you have earned the specified amount of income or more, you’d need to file a return even if you are a full time student. This Forbes article is helpful: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2016/01/21/do-you-need-to-file-a-tax-return-in-2016/#784886d95d91
Best wishes to you in your studies!
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