Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQ's come from the IRS.gov FAQ site. If your question isn't answered here please use our contact page to submit your question.

Answer: To claim your child as your dependent, your child must meet the qualifying child test or the qualifying relative test. To meet the qualifying child test, your child must be younger than you and as of the end of the calendar year, either be younger than 19 years old or be a student and younger than 24 years old, or any age if permanently and totally disabled. There is no age limit on claiming your child as a dependent if the child meets the qualifying relative test. In addition to meeting the qualifying child or qualifying relative test, you may claim a dependency exemption for your child as long as all of the following tests are met: Dependent taxpayer test Citizen or resident test, and Joint return test

Answer: If you are an unmarried dependent student, you must file a tax return if your earned or unearned income exceeds certain limits. To find these limits, refer to Dependents under Who Must File, in Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information. Even if you do not have to file, you should file a federal income tax return if you can get money back (for example, you had federal income tax withheld from your pay or you qualify for a refundable tax credit). See Who Should File in Publication 501, for more examples.

Answer: If you can claim an exemption for your daughter as a dependent on your income tax return, she cannot claim her own personal exemption on her income tax return. Your daughter should check the box on her return indicating that someone else can claim her as a dependent.

Answer: Generally, no. A condition of your installment agreement is that the IRS will automatically apply any refund due to you against taxes you owe. If your refund exceeds your total balance due on all outstanding liabilities including accruals, you will receive a refund of the amount over and above what you owe. Because your refund is not applied toward your regular monthly payment, you must continue making your installment agreement payments as scheduled and in full until your liability including accruing penalty and interest is paid in full. Regardless whether you are participating in an installment agreement or other payment arrangement with the IRS, you may not get all of your refund if you owe certain past-due amounts, such as federal tax, state tax, a student loan, or child support. For more information on these non-IRS refund offsets, you can call the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) at 800-304-3107 (toll-free).

In certain circumstances, you do not have to claim your child as a dependent to qualify for head of household filing status; for example, a custodial parent may be able to claim head of household filing status even if he or she released a claim to exemption for the child.

Many mathematical errors are caught during the processing of the tax return and corrected by the IRS, so you may not need to correct these mistakes. - If you did not attach a required schedule or form, the IRS will contact you and ask for the missing information. - If you did not claim the correct filing status or you need to change your income, deductions, or credits, you should file an amended or corrected return using Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. When filing an amended or corrected return: - Include copies of any forms and/or schedules that you are changing or did not include with your original return. To avoid delays, file Form 1040X only after you have filed your original return. Generally, for a credit or refund, you must file Form 1040X within 3 years (including extensions) after the date you timely filed your original return or within 2 years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. -Allow the IRS up to 16 weeks to process an amended return.

A split refund lets you divide your refund, in any proportion you want, and direct deposit the funds into up to three different accounts with U.S. financial institutions. Use Form 8888, Allocation of Refund, to request to have your refund split.

Answer: You must make estimated tax payments for the current tax year if both of the following apply: You expect to owe at least $1,000 in tax for the current tax year after subtracting your withholding and refundable credits. You expect your withholding and refundable credits to be less than the smaller of: 90% of the tax to be shown on your current year’s tax return, or 100% of the tax shown on your prior year’s tax return. (Your prior year tax return must cover all 12 months.) There are special rules for: Farmers and fishermen Certain household employers Certain higher income taxpayers Nonresident aliens

Answer: Social security benefits include monthly retirement, survivor and disability benefits. They do not include supplemental security income (SSI) payments, which are not taxable. The amount of social security benefits that must be included on your income tax return and used to calculate your income tax liability depends on the total amount of your income and benefits for the taxable year. To find out whether any of your benefits may be taxable, compare the base amount for your filing status with the total of: One-half of your benefits. All of your other income, including tax-exempt interest. The base amount for your filing status is: $25,000 if you are single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er), $25,000 if you are married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse for the entire year, $32,000 if you are married filing jointly, $0 if you are married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during the tax year. If you are married and file a joint return, you and your spouse must combine your incomes and social security benefits when figuring the taxable portion of your benefits. Even if your spouse did not receive any benefits, you must add your spouse's income to yours when figuring on a joint return if any of your benefits are taxable. You can figure the taxable amount of the benefits on a worksheet in the Instructions for Form 1040, Instructions for Form 1040A, or in Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits.