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Question: Is there an age limit on claiming my child as a dependent?


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:

1. Dependent taxpayer test

2. Citizen or resident test, and

3. Joint return test











Question: Do I need to file a return?


Answer: To taxpayers who have faithfully filed tax returns for years, it may be surprising to find that they may not have to file. Generally, you do not need to file a tax return if your income is under these amounts:

Filing Status                                       Age                       Minimum W-2 Income Requirement Minimum


                                                       Single                                             Under 65                                              $10,400       


                                                                                                             65 or older                                             $11,950


                                                       Head of Household                       Under 65                                               $13,400

                                                                                                             65 or older                                             $14,950

                                                       Married Filing Jointly                 Under 65 (both spouses)                      $20,800

                                                                                                            65 or older (one spouse)                      $22,050

                                                                                                            65 or older (both spouses)                   $23,300

                                                      Married Filing Separately              Any age                                               $4,050

                                                     Qualifying Widow(er)

                                                     with Dependent Children             Under 65                                               $16,750

                                                                                                           65 or older                                             $18,000


However... you must file a return if you had self-employment income of $400 or more.


Or, you should file if someone else (like your parents) could claim you as a dependent and you earned over $900 

or had investment income (interest on savings, stock dividends, etc.) of more than $300.


Also, you should file a return even if your income is under these limits if you:

 Had withholding on wages, pensions, retirement distributions or investment accounts.

 Are eligible for an earned income credit or other credit. The federal Form 1040 actually collects several other taxes including:

 Self employment (Social Security and Medicare) tax

 Social Security and Medicare tax on tip income

 Early withdrawal tax on IRA's and retirement plans

 Alternative minimum tax

 Household employee payroll tax ("nanny tax")

You may be required to file a state return even if you don't have to file a federal one. There are other circumstances where you might be required to file, or it might be beneficial to file, so check with an Enrolled Agent to be sure.

Note: These figures include the personal exemption and standard deduction. Even though there is generally no tax up to this amount, taxpayers must still file a return if their Arizona incomes are above the "no filing" amount.-- 











Question: If I claim my daughter who is a full-time college student as a dependent, can she claim her own personal exemption when she files her return?


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.











Question: Can I receive a tax refund if I am currently making payments under an installment agreement or payment plan for a prior year's federal taxes?


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.











Question: To qualify for head of household filing status, do I have to claim my child as a dependent?


Answer: 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.











Question: What should I do if I made a mistake on my federal return that I have already filed?


Answer: It depends on the type of mistake you made:

 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.











Question: I retired last year, and started receiving social security payments. Do I have to pay taxes on my social security benefits?


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.











Question: If the custodial parent releases a claim to exemption for a child by signing a Form 8332, Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent, or a substantially similar statement, may the noncustodial parent claim the child as a qualifying child for the earned income credit?


Answer: Generally, no. The noncustodial parent may not claim a child as a qualifying child for the earned income credit 

based on the custodial parent’s release of a claim to exemption for the child.

 The custodial parent may be able to claim the child as a qualifying child for the earned income credit if the residency test and all the other requirements are met.

Note: For income tax purposes, the custodial parent is, generally, the parent with whom the child lives for the greater number of nights during the year.











Question: If both parents who were never married want to claim the earned income credit, which parent is entitled to claim the credit as an eligible individual with a qualifying child?


Answer: If they otherwise meet all of the requirements to claim the earned income tax credit (EITC), unmarried parents with a qualifying child may choose which parent will claim the credit.

 If there are two qualifying children, each parent may claim the credit based on one of the children.

 One parent may claim the credit based on both children.

 If both parents claim the child as a qualifying child for the EITC, the IRS will apply tie-breaker rules and treat the child as the qualifying child of the parent with whom the child lives for the longer amount of time in the tax year. If the child lives with each parent for the same amount of time, the IRS will treat the child as the qualifying child of the parent who has the higher adjusted gross income (AGI) for the tax year.

 If no parent can claim the child as a qualifying child, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the person who has the highest AGI for the tax year.

 If a parent can claim the child as a qualifying child but neither parent claims the child, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the person who has the highest AGI, but only if that person's AGI is higher than the AGI of any of the child's parents who can claim the child as a qualifying child.











Question: Is child support considered earned income when calculating the earned income credit?


Answer: No, for purposes of calculating the earned income credit, child support is not considered earned income. Examples of items that are not earned income include interest and dividends, pensions and annuities, social security and railroad retirement benefits (including disability benefits), alimony and child support, welfare benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment compensation (insurance), nontaxable foster care payments, and veterans benefits, including VA rehabilitation payments. Do not include any of these items in your earned income.









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