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1. Do I have to file a Federal Income Tax Return?

The general rule of thumb for 2003 tax year is:
• Individuals making less than $7,700 will have no tax liability.
• Married Couples making less than $13,850 will have no tax liability.

Just because you have no tax liability does not mean you do not file. In many instances, it is in YOUR best interest to file. If you had federal tax withheld from a paycheck during the year - it is possible that you might have a refund owed to you. If you are a student, it is possible that tax credits will reduce your liability to zero in cases where you earned more than the above stated amounts - thus generating a refund of moneys withheld from paychecks.

Low-income parents can be entitled to the Earned Income Tax credit - a form of federal subsidy - that actually can create a refund even if no money was withheld from your paychecks. Many students with children qualify for this credit.

The moral of the story - it never hurts to at least try to file.

2. When do I have to file my refund?
  File on or before April 15 of the calendar year. (If the 15th falls on a weekend, file on or before the following Monday.)
3. How do I amend my return?
  You will need to file a 1040X to make the corrections. If the required changes result in an overpayment, you'll receive a refund; on the other hand, if the changes result in your owing additional tax, you'll have to pay the additional amount. Generally, the amended tax return must be filed within three years of the date you filed the original return or within two years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.
4. How long does it take to process a return?
  Processing time depends how the return was filed (by mailing or by electronic filing). If you mailed the return, it does not normally take over 6 weeks after the return was received. Electronically filed returns and telefile filers should allow 10 days for processing.
5. What is the phone number to call if I have not received my refund?

Federal: 800-829-4477
AL State:

6. Can we trust the IRS to give us the best advice where tax reporting is concerned?
  When you pose a question to the IRS, the answer you receive depends on that particular individual's knowledge and interpretation. The IRS is not bound by the answers it gives. If a later examination shows the advice was incorrect, you will have to pay the resulting tax, and in many cases, interest on that tax. Any penalty will generally be abated if you have some evidence you were mislead by IRS personnel. It is a good idea to write down the date, your question, the answer, and the name of the individual who provides the answer. It is a good idea to also check the answer you get by asking a tax professional, or searching our web site for additional tax information.
7. What are the income limits for the earned income credit?
  $29,666 if you have one eligible child.
$33,692 if you have more than one eligible child.
$11,230 if you have no eligible children.
These limits are $1,000 higher if you are married and filing a joint return.
8. I got married in the middle of last year. Is it better to file jointly or separately?
  It is usually better to file jointly. However, if you or your spouse were someone's dependent for the other part of the year, you should check with them first.
9. How long can I claim my child as a dependent?
  A child of any age may qualify as your dependent if he or she has gross income of less than $3,000 and you have provided over half of his or her support. Also, if the child is under 17 or under 24 and a full-time student, you may claim him or her as a dependent regardless of his or her income.
10. Can spousal and child support be deducted?
  Child support cannot be deducted. Alimony payments are deductible by the payer and includable as income by the recipient.