MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - WSFA 12 News held its annual Tax Action Hotline recently. We teamed up with the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants to answer viewers' questions about their tax returns. If you missed your chance to call, here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions. The deadline to file your return this year is April 17th.
Do I have to file a tax return?
The filing requirements are different, depending on your age, marital and familial status. A single, unmarried person must have made at least $10,400 in 2017, and a single, unmarried person over 65 years old must have made at least $11,950. The head of the household must have made $13,400 or more. Married couples filing jointly must have made at least $20,800, and if they are both more than 65 year old they must have made at least $23,300. You are also required to file taxes if you have withholdings of income tax and are under the listed limits. Its also important to note the filing thresholds will be higher for 2018 due to the new tax bill.
What is the standard deduction for 2017 and 2018?
The standard deduction for married couples filing jointly will be $12,700 for 2017 and $24,000 for 2018. For single people and married couples filing separately the standard deduction for 2017 is $6,350 and for 2018 it will be $12,000. The head of the household's standard deduction for 2017 is $9,350 and for 2018 will be $18,000.
What is my earned income credit?
The maximum earned income credit is $510 for someone with no children making more than $20,600 (Married filing jointly) or $15,010 (all others). With one child, the credit is up to $3,400 for earned income more than $45,207 (MFJ) or $39,617 (all others). People with two children have a maximum credit of $5,616 for earned income more than $53,597 (MFJ) or $45,007 (all others). People with three or more children have a maximum credit of $6,318 for earned income more than $53,930 (MFJ) or $48,340 (all others).
What is the dependent exemption?
The dependent exemption is $4,050 and it goes to the custodial parent with whom the child stayed the most (Note: this is the last year for this exemption).
Are Social Security retirement and disability benefits taxable?
Yes, for married couples filing jointly with incomes more than $32,000. For all others, their income must be more than $25,000. 42.5 percent of the amounts more than the limits will be taxable.
When will I get my refund?
The IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 calendars and asks all filers to allow four weeks. Direct Deposit and e-filed returns can take more than 21 days. You can check "Where is my refund" at irs.gov for more updates.