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Small business and startups advice

Tax Tips for Individuals

Choosing the Right Tax Forms and Who Should File

Date: 1/22/2016

Which Tax Form is Best for You?

 

This tax filing season, get things off to a good start. Make it easy on yourself and let us select the right tax form for you. Filing electronically with us is the easiest way to file a complete and accurate return. We will ask the right questions and make sure you get the tax credits and deductions that you are entitled to claim. 

Here are some tips to help you choose the right forms:

You can generally use Form 1040EZ if:

  • Your taxable income is below $100,000;

  • Your filing status is single or married filing jointly;

  • You don’t claim dependents; and

  • Your interest income is $1,500 or less.

Note: You can’t use Form 1040EZ to claim the Premium Tax Credit. Nor can you use this form if you received advance payments of the premium tax credit in 2015.

Form 1040A may be best for you if:

  • Your taxable income is below $100,000;

  • You have capital gain distributions;

  • You claim certain tax credits; and

  • You claim adjustments to income for IRA contributions and student loan interest.

You must use the Form 1040 if:

  • Your taxable income is $100,000 or more;

  • You claim itemized deductions;

  • You report self-employment income; or

  • You report income from sale of a property.

 

Six Tips on Whether to File a 2015 Tax Return

 

Most people file a tax return because they have to, but even if you don’t, there are times when you should. You may be eligible for a tax refund and not know it. Here are six tips to help you find out if you should file a tax return:
 

  1. General Filing Rules. Whether you need to file a tax return depends on a few factors. In most cases, the amount of your income, your filing status and your age determine if you must file a tax return. For example, if you’re single and under age 65 you must file if your income was at least $10,300. Other rules may apply if you’re self-employed or if you’re a dependent of another person. There are also other cases when you must file. Go to IRS.gov/filing to find out if you need to file.

  2. Premium Tax Credit.  If you enrolled in health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2015, you may be eligible for the premium tax credit. You will need to file a return to claim the credit. If you chose to have advance payments of the premium tax credit sent directly to your insurer during 2015 you must file a federal tax return. You will reconcile any advance payments with the allowable premium tax credit. You should receive Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, by early February. The form will have information that will help you file your tax return

  3. 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.

  4. Earned Income Tax Credit. Did you work and earn less than $53,267 last year? You could receive EITC as a tax refund, if you qualify, with or without a qualifying child. You may be eligible for up to $6,242. Use the 2015 EITC Assistant tool on IRS.gov to find out if you qualify. If you do, file a tax return to claim it.

  5. 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.

  6. American Opportunity Tax Credit. The AOTC is available for four years of post secondary education and can be up to $2,500 per eligible student. You, your spouse or your dependent must have been a student enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period. Even if you don’t owe any taxes, you still may qualify. You must complete Form 8863, Education Credits, and file it with your return to claim the credit.

Remember, if you e-file you don't need any paper forms to mail to the IRS. If you have any questions, please call us at 586-751-6060.