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To file or not to file 2016 tax retrun, that is the questions

posted Jan 26, 2017, 10:09 PM by Zaher Fallahi

IRS; Five Tips on Whether to File a 2016 Tax Return

Most taxpayers file a tax return because they have to. Even if a taxpayer doesn’t have to file, there are times they should. They may be eligible for a tax refund and not know it.


Here are five tips on whether to file a tax return:


1- General Filing Rules

In most cases, income, filing status and age determine if someone must file a tax return. Other rules may apply if the taxpayer is self-employed or a dependent of another person.


For example, if someone is single and under age 65, he or she must file if their income was at least $10,350. There are other instances when a taxpayer must file. Go to  for more information.


2- Tax Withheld or Paid

a) Did the taxpayer’s employer withhold federal income tax from their wages?

b) Did the taxpayer make estimated tax payments for the year?

c) Did they overpay last year and have it applied to this year’s tax?


If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, they may be due a refund and should file a tax return to get it back.


3- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

A taxpayer who worked and earned less than $53,505 last in 2016 may receive the EITC as a tax refund. They must qualify and may do so with or without a qualifying child.


They may be eligible for up to $6,269. Use the 2016 EITC Assistant tool on to find out. Taxpayers must file a tax return to obtain the EITC.


4- Additional Child Tax Credit

Did the taxpayer have at least one child that qualifies for the Child Tax Credit? If they do not qualify for the full child credit, they may be eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit.


Beginning in January 2017,  the IRS must hold refunds for any tax return claiming either the EITC or the Additional Child Tax Credit until Feb. 15. This means the entire refund, not just the part related to either credit.


5- American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)

To claim the AOTC, the taxpayer, their spouse or their dependent must have been a student enrolled at least half time for one academic period to qualify. The credit is available for four years of post-secondary education.


It can be worth up to $2,500 per eligible student. Even if the taxpayer doesn’t owe any taxes, they may still qualify. Complete Form 8863, Education Credits, and file it with the tax return. Learn more by visiting the Education Credits web page.


Zaher Fallahi, Los Angeles Tax CPA and Orange County Tax CPA. Contact information: Tel: (310) 719-1040, (714) 546-4272, Website:  and e-mail