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How to file with no income

4 Replies
Level 15

How to file with no income

If you had no income you do not file an income tax return.  Were you someone else's dependent?  How have you been supported if you had no income?

**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**
Level 15

How to file with no income

why are you asking?  does it have to do with the stimulus payments? please explain.

Level 15

How to file with no income

The money you hear about people getting for just filing a tax return claiming kids requires them to  have some earned income (wages or self employment). Without earned income, they are not eligible for the "refundable" Earned Income Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit.  Both credits are calculated on the amount of earned income you have. No earned income means no "refund". A small amount of earned income means a small refund. The child tax credit does not "kick in" unless you have at least $2500 of earned income.


A child can be the “qualifying child” dependent of any close relative in the household. If you live with someone else, e.g. your parents, it may be better if they claim your child.

Instead, you could allow the non-custodial parent to claim the children.  Non-custodial parents are allowed to claim the child tax credit, but not the Earned income credit.


If you are a student, over age 23, and are not claimed as a dependent by someone else (e.g. your parent) you may be eligible for the up to $1000 refundable American Opportunity (tuition) Credit. That credit is not dependent on having either kids or earned income. You must be at least a half time undergraduate student. There's even a loop hole available to claim the credit, if you are on scholarship.

Level 15

How to file with no income

If this is for the first stimulus check ... if you have not already filed a 2019  non filer return then you will be able to file a real 2020 return  when the IRS efile system opens in  late January.  


If this is for the second stimulus check ... instructions are not yet posted.  

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