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oyinda15
New Member

Can I still file tax even if I did not work in 2020?

I am unemployed, can I still file tax?
8 Replies
xmasbaby0
Level 15

Can I still file tax even if I did not work in 2020?

What do you want to enter on a tax return?  Do you have some taxable income to enter?   You have missed the deadline to use the free software.   So if you want to file a tax return you will have to pay to do so.

**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.**
Carl
Level 15

Can I still file tax even if I did not work in 2020?

Keeping in mind that it's perfectly possible for you to have reportable income from sources other than work, If you have no income from any source in 2020, why would you want to file a tax return? Do note that you can not file a $0 income tax return.

rjs
Level 15
Level 15

Can I still file tax even if I did not work in 2020?

Did you receive unemployment benefits in 2020? If so, depending on your filing status, you might have received enough that you are required to file a tax return. Unemployment benefits are taxable income. You can go to the following link on the IRS web site to see if you are required to file.


Do I Need to File a Tax Return?

 

tagteam
Level 15

Can I still file tax even if I did not work in 2020?

Carl
Level 15

Can I still file tax even if I did not work in 2020?

Maybe I should have been more specific. You can't e-file a $0 income return with the IRS. I saw posts from others who attempted a e-file a $0 return for 2019 and the IRS computers would not accept it. Also, from what I've been told by those who mailed a paper return to the IRS with $0 income on it, looks like it was never even processed, as nothing shows up on the filing history for the tax year a $0 return was mailed.

 

Hal_Al
Level 15

Can I still file tax even if I did not work in 2020?

Q. Can I still file tax even if I did not work in 2020 and/or are otherwise not required to file?

A. Yes.  But, you need to explain what you are trying to accomplish.

 

If it's for the stimulus payments, there was a non-filer tool available at irs.com to do that.  That is no longer available and you will need to file a 2020 return to get the 2020 Recovery rebate credit (stimulus).  People who qualified as dependents, in 2020, are not eligible for the Recovery rebate credit .

 

If it's about child credits, 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. For 2020, the child tax credit does not "kick in" unless you have at least $2500 of earned income.  For 2021, the rules are different, and you will not need earned income to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit. But, you will not file your 2021 tax return until early 2022. 

 

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.

rjs
Level 15
Level 15

Can I still file tax even if I did not work in 2020?

When, for any reason, someone wants to file a tax return with no income, the common practice is to enter $1 of interest or $1 of other income. The $1 of income does not incur any tax or cause any other problems, but it allows the tax return to be e-filed.

 

tagteam
Level 15

Can I still file tax even if I did not work in 2020?


@rjs wrote:

When, for any reason, someone wants to file a tax return with no income, the common practice is to enter $1 of interest or $1 of other income.


That is the best approach and virtually foolproof. 

 

Regardless, the return needs to have a digit entered on certain lines; a completely blank return will not work.

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