Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Level Basic Advanced Military International

Filing Basics

Who Should File?

Eligibility to Claim a Refund or Refundable Credit

The taxpayer may qualify for a tax refund, earned income credit, additional child tax credit, or American opportunity credit if:

  • Federal or state income tax was withheld on any income form
  • The taxpayer had earned income
  • The taxpayer has a qualifying child
  • The taxpayer paid higher-education expenses
  • The taxpayer made estimated tax payments

If a taxpayer is not required to file a tax return, and you are uncertain if they will benefit from filing, begin a return to determine if filing a tax return would benefit the taxpayer.

Refer taxpayers who may qualify for the Health Coverage Tax Credit to a professional tax preparer.


The earned income credit may apply with or without a child. See the Earned Income Credit and Child Tax Credit lessons for details on determining eligibility for these tax credits.