A tax return is a documentation filed with a tax authority that reports income, expenses, and other relevant financial information. On tax returns, taxpayers calculate their tax liability, schedule tax payments, or request refunds for the overpayment of taxes.
A tax refund is a reimbursement to a taxpayer for any excess amount paid to the federal government or a state government. While taxpayers tend to look at a refund as a bonus or a stroke of luck, it often represents what is essentially an interest-free loan that the taxpayer made to the government.
Although the words “return” and “refund” sound quite similar, when it comes to tax season, they are very different. A tax refund is money that the IRS sends to you after accepting and reviewing your tax return. It's important to note, however, that not everyone who files a tax return will receive a tax refund.
You get a tax refund when you pay more taxes to your state government or the federal government than your actual tax liability. A refund is a check from the government for the amount overpaid.
Most U.S. citizens – and permanent residents who work in the United States – need to file a tax return if they make more than a certain amount for the year. You may want to file even if you make less than that amount, because you may get money back if you file.
The IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Get your tax refund up to 5 days early: When it's time to file, have your tax refund direct deposited with Credit Karma Money™, and you could receive your funds up to 5 days early.
If you fail to file your taxes on time, you'll likely encounter what's called a Failure to File Penalty. The penalty for failing to file represents 5% of your unpaid tax liability for each month your return is late, up to 25% of your total unpaid taxes. If you're due a refund, there's no penalty for failure to file.
Any year you have minimal or no income, you may be able to skip filing your tax return and the related paperwork. However, it's perfectly legal to file a tax return showing zero income, and this might be a good idea for a number of reasons.
Do I Still File a Tax Return? If you didn't earn any income in the last tax year, you're not obligated to file a tax return. The IRS has minimum income requirements that change annually based on inflation as well as your tax status, such as single, married filing separately or jointly, head of household, etc.
Gross Income: The person must have made less than $4,300 in gross income during 2021. This amount will be $4,400 in 2022. Support: You must have provided more than half of the individual's total support during the year.
January 24: IRS begins 2022 tax season. Individual 2021 tax returns begin being accepted and processing begins. January 28: Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day to raise awareness of valuable tax credits available to many people – including the option to use prior-year income to qualify.
As of the 2021 tax year, the minimum gross income requirements are: Single and under age 65: $12,550. Single and age 65 or older: $14,250. Married filing jointly and both spouses are under age 65: $25,100.
No matter how old you are, if you meet certain conditions, you must file a tax return. However, dependents can be claimed on parents' filings in some cases. It doesn't matter your age, if your income exceeds certain thresholds you will need to file a tax return.
Updated For Tax Year 2021
You can stop filing income taxes at age 65 if: You are a senior that is not married and make less than $14,250. You are a senior that is married, and you are going to file jointly and make less than $26,450. You are a qualifying widow, and earned less than $26,450.
Adult child in need
Although he's too old to be your qualifying child, he may qualify as a qualifying relative if he earned less than $4,300 in 2020 or 2021. If that's the case and you provided more than half of his support during the year, you may claim him as a dependent.
The child has to be related to you as a son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of those. The child must be 18 or younger at the end of the year, or under 24 if a student.
To file as head of household, you must: Pay for more than half of the household expenses. Be considered unmarried on the last day of the tax year, and. You must have a qualifying child or dependent.
Consider your gross income thresholds (Part 1) If your income is less than your standard deduction, you generally don't need to file a return (provided you don't have a type of income that requires you to file a return for other reasons, such as self-employment income).
You can access your federal tax account through a secure login at IRS.gov/account. Once in your account, you can view the amount you owe along with details of your balance, view 18 months of payment history, access Get Transcript, and view key information from your current year tax return.
If you want to avoid paying taxes, you'll need to make your tax deductions equal to or greater than your income. For example, using the case where the IRS interactive tax assistant calculated a standard tax deduction of $24,400 if you and your spouse earned $24,000 that tax year, you will pay nothing in taxes.
Tracking the status of a tax refund is easy with the Where's My Refund? tool. It's available anytime on IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go App. Taxpayers can start checking their refund status within 24 hours after an e-filed return is received.
Most taxpayers receive their refunds within 21 days of filing. If you choose to have your refund deposited directly into your account, you may have to wait five days before you can gain access to it. If you decide to request a refund check, you might have to wait a few weeks for it to arrive.
Things that can delay a refund:
The return has a claim filed for an earned income tax credit, additional child tax credit, or includes a Form 8379, Injured Spouse AllocationPDF. The time it takes a taxpayer's bank or credit union to post the refund to the taxpayer's account.