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Top 10 Frequently asked questions:



1.  How do I know if I have to file quarterly individual estimated tax payments?



Answer:   If you owed additional tax for the prior tax year, you may have to make estimated tax payments for the current tax year.

You must make estimated tax payments for the current tax year if both of the following apply:

  • You expect to owe at least $1,000 in tax for the current tax year, after subtracting your withholding and credits.
  • You expect your withholding and credits to be less than the smaller of:
    • 90% of the tax to be shown on your current year’s tax return, or
    • 100% of the tax shown on your prior year’s tax return.  (Your prior year tax return must cover all 12 months.)

There are special rules for:

  • Certain taxpayers with higher adjusted gross income
  • Farmers and commercial fishermen
  • Aliens
  • Estates and Trusts

2.  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 that you made:
  • Many mathematical errors are caught in the processing of the tax return itself.
  • If you did not attach a required schedule the service will contact you and ask for the missing information.
  • If you did not report all your income or did not claim a credit, you are entitled to file an amended or corrected return using Form 1040X (PDF), Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

When filing an amended or corrected return:

  • Include copies of any schedules that have been changed or any Form W-2 (PDF) you did not include.
  • The Form 1040X (PDF) should be submitted after you receive your refund or by the due date of the return, whichever, is earlier.
  • Generally, to claim a refund, the Form 1040X (PDF) must be received within three years after the date you filed your original return or within two years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later
3.   If I claim my daughter as a dependent because she is a full-time college student, can she claim herself as a dependent when she files her return?
Answer:   If you claim your daughter as a dependent on your income tax return, she cannot claim herself on her income tax return.
  • If an individual is filing his or her own tax return, and the individual can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return, the individual cannot claim his or her own personal exemption.
  • In this case, your daughter should check the box on her return indicating that someone else can claim her as a dependent.
4.   How much does a student have to make before he or she has to file an income tax return?
Answer:   If you are an unmarried dependent, you must file a tax return if your earned and/or unearned income exceeds certain limits.
  • To find these limits refer to Filing Requirements for Dependents in Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information.
  • Even if you do not have to file, you should file a federal income tax return to get money back if any of the following apply:

1.    You had income tax withheld from your pay.

2.    You qualify for the earned income credit.

3.    You qualify for the additional child tax credit.

Refer to Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information for an explanation of the five exemption tests and filing requirement rules.
5.   For head of household filing status, do you have to claim a child as a dependent to qualify?
Answer:   In certain circumstances, you do not need to claim the child as a dependent to qualify for head of household filing status, such as when the qualifying child is unmarried and is your child, grandchild, stepchild, or adopted child.
6.   What is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009?
Answer:   The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009. The bill is intended to provide a stimulus to the U.S. economy in the wake of the economic downturn. The bill includes federal tax cuts, expansion of unemployment benefits and other social provisions, including domestic spending in education, health care, and infrastructure, including the energy sector.
7.   I am a U.S. citizen. If I move to Canada to live and work there as a Canadian permanent resident, do I pay both U.S. and Canadian Taxes?
Answer:   United States citizens living abroad:
  • Are required to file annual U.S. income tax returns.
  • Must report their worldwide income if they meet the minimum income filing requirements for their filing status and age.
  • Must contact the Canadian Government to determine whether you must file a Canadian tax return and pay Canadian taxes.
  • Will have the option to exclude some or all of your foreign earned income or to claim a foreign tax credit if Canadian taxes must be paid.
8.   Do I have to meet the 330-day presence test or have a valid working resident visa to meet the requirement for foreign income exclusion?
Answer:   To claim the foreign earned income exclusion, the foreign housing exclusion, or the foreign housing deduction:
  • You must have foreign earned income,
  • Your tax home must be in a foreign country, and
  • You must be one of the following:
    • A U.S. citizen who is a bona fide resident of a foreign country or countries for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year,
    • A U.S. resident alien who is a citizen or national of a country with which the United States has an income tax treaty with a nondiscrimination article in effect and who is a bona fide resident of a foreign country or countries for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year, or
    • A U.S. citizen or a U.S. resident alien who is physically present in a foreign country or countries for at least 330 full days during any period of 12 consecutive months
    • U.S. tax law does not specifically require a foreign resident visa or work visa for this purpose, but you should comply with the other country's laws.


9.   I live in a foreign country. How do I get a social security number for my dependent who qualifies for a social security card?
Answer:   Use Form SS-5-FS which may be obtained from and filed with the Social Security Administration.
10.   Under my visa as a temporary nonresident alien, I'm not subject to social security and Medicare withholding. My employer withheld the taxes from my pay. What should I do to get a refund of my social security and Medicare?


Answer: If Social security tax and Medicare were withheld in error from pay received that was not subject to the taxes, you must first contact the employer for reimbursement. If you are unable to get a refund from the employer, file a claim for refund with the Internal Revenue Service on Form 843(PDF), Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement.


You must attath the following to your claim:


  • A copy of your Form W-2 (PDF), Wage and Tax Statement, to prove the amount of tax withheld;
  • A copy of your valid entry visa;
  • Copies of the pay stubs that cover the period of exemption from social security taxes if your visa status changed during the tax year;
  • A copy of INS Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record if you are still in the United States;
  • A copy of Form I-20 if you have a F-1 visa;
  • A copy of Form DS-2019 if you have a J-1 visa;
  • Form I-766 or Form I-688B if you are engaged in optical practical training, and
  • Form 8316, Information Regarding Request for Refund of Social Security Tax, a statement from your employer containing identical information, or a signed statement stating that you have requested a refund from the employer and have not been able to obtain one.


Processing of your claim may be delayed if you submit it less than six weeks after you filed Form 1040NR(PDF) or Form 1040NR-EZ(PDF).

For where to mail your claim and more information, refer Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens 




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