I only made 12,000 last year, but I'm only receiving less than half of my taxes back. Why so little?
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I only made 12,000 last year, but I'm only receiving less than half of my taxes back. Why so little?

 
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I only made 12,000 last year, but I'm only receiving less than half of my taxes back. Why so little?

Without having the benefit of looking at your return, I can only make some suggestions to the reasons and a strategy for reviewing your return.

I am assuming that you are filing single, claiming no dependents, and you are using the standard deduction. If this is the case, you will have taxable income of 1,650 dollars and tax of 165 dollars on your return. If there was any self-employment income on your return, that will increase the tax by self-employment tax of 15.3% of the self-employment income.

One way to see if you are missing something from a prior year, is to review both returns side by side:

  1. Print copies of both returns
  2. Compare the following lines:

    • Line 37 Adjusted Gross Income - This will provide a comparison of income for the two years.
    • Line 40 Itemized Deductions - If the figures are widely different, there may be possible deductions that you are missing on this years return.
    • Line 44 and 45 Tax and Alternative Minimum Tax - If there is AMT on one year versus the other, you will want to see if you can figure out why.
    • Lines 48-54 Credits - If there is a credit missing from last year, make sure the credit is not being missed inadvertently.
    • Line 57-62 Other Taxes - This is usually blank unless you are self-employed, have a early retirement withdrawal, or you owe healthcare taxes.
    • Lines 64-73 Payments and Refundable Tax Credits - Make sure there are no significant differences, if there are try to figure out why.
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