Indians in the US must file taxes irrespective of their immigration status

Indians in the US must file taxes irrespective of their immigration status

Indians in the US must file taxes irrespective of their immigration status

You might have moved to the US a few days ago or some years back, but if you have earned any kind of income in the US which might be cash or check the IRS should be intimated about it irrespective of your immigration status. 

Since the tax filing has opened for the US taxpayers, this is the right time to file your taxes even if you are a non-resident in the United States. 

For the Indians residing in the US, the tax filing time can be confusing with a lot of scenarios making it difficult to understand if tax filing should be done or not. Let us check out some such circumstances or scenarios where tax filing can be confusing for the Indians in the US.

If you do not have your Social Security Number

The tax returns with the IRS should have a Personal Identification Number. Mostly, taxpayers use their SSN (Social Security Number) for this purpose. But, if you do not have an SSN or you are not eligible to have an SSN then what needs to be done?

Since 1996, the IRS has been handling such a situation by issuing ITINs i.e. Individual Tax Identification Numbers. This would be helpful for those taxpayers who are not eligible for obtaining a valid Social Security Number (SSN).  The ITIN can be obtained by the use of the W-7 Form and it takes around 6-10 weeks for receiving it after the completion of the processes. However, if you are a Non-resident Indian and do not have an ITIN then you can even send your tax returns along with your Form W-7. You would also have to send some documentation for the confirmation of your identity. If you are filing your tax returns for the first time then this option is a convenient one.

One more step that would be necessary here is to have enough documentation for supporting the income and expenditure which you can claim on your tax returns. A major part of these documents is mainly provided by either your employer, the Government, or any financial institution. 

If your immigration status has not been formalized

Even if your immigration status has not been formalized, you can still file your tax returns in a hassle-free manner. The information present on your tax returns would remain confidential and would not be shared by the IRS with any entities except a few Government entities. The law “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” provides the right to privacy for each taxpayer which means irrespective of your immigration status if you are filing your tax returns the IRS would not make any unnecessary investigations.  So, you are filing your tax returns and maintaining your compliance with the law.

Will there be any benefits if you decide to file your tax returns irrespective of your immigration status?

Even if your immigration status is not formalized, you can get a couple of benefits by filing your tax returns. If you are an employer, then you must have paid taxes during the entire year and there are chances that you might have paid much more than you owed. So, you can file your returns and get tax refunds. 

Moreover, some tax credits can be very beneficial irrespective of your immigration status. With these tax credits, you can get tax refunds even in case you do not owe any taxes to pay. The Child Tax Credit (CTC) can give you up to $2000 tax credits and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) would give $1400 refundable tax credits.

Furthermore, by filing your tax returns you are beginning the process of becoming a permanent resident of the United States. You can prove your good moral character by filing your tax returns on time. 

If you are self-employed

If you are self-employed or have your own business, then you would have to maintain a lot of records related to your income and expenditure. This is quite tedious and you would have to do a lot of work for this record maintenance. However, you can find various tax return filing online tools which would provide you with QuickBooks to track your income and expenses throughout the year.


So, the immigration status of an individual residing in the US cannot be a blocker while filing his tax returns. Filing tax returns diligently and on time is a sign to be compliant with the law which must be practised by all the individuals living in the country.


What exactly is Earned Income Tax Credit?

What exactly is Earned Income Tax Credit?

What exactly is Earned Income Tax Credit?


The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is helpful in obtaining a tax break for those individuals and families who have low-to-moderate income categories. In case, you are eligible to claim this credit you would be able to reduce your taxes and increase your tax refund. The refund you would obtain would be the amount of your credit if the EITC credit is more than the amount of taxes you owe.

According to the IRS report, around 25 million taxpayers from the US have received EITC last year and the average EITC received was approximately $2,461. However, millions of Americans are still unaware of the advantages that can be availed by the Earned Income Tax Credit. There are a lot of Americans who miss out on the EITC as they are qualified for claiming the credit newly or they do not file the tax returns as their income falls below the filing limit of the IRS.

Eligibility to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit 

You would be eligible to claim the EITC in case you can meet the income limits that are mentioned below.

  1. You must be a US citizen.
  2. You are above the age of 25 years or you are having qualifying children.
  3. You are not filing your tax returns under the status “Married filing separately”.
  4. You are obtaining your Earned income from employment and the unemployment income does not count.
  5. You would be qualifying for EITC if you are obtaining your income from any home business or you provide services.

Income limits to be eligible for claiming EITC

The income limits are adjusted every year and for every year the earned income and AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) must not be more than the below-mentioned figures.

  1. $50,594 for those filing tax returns as single with three or more qualifying children or $56,844 for those married and filing tax returns jointly with three or more qualifying children.


  2. $47,440 for those who are filing their tax returns as single with two qualifying children or $53,330 for those who are married and filing tax returns jointly with two qualifying children.


  3. $41,756 for those filing tax returns as single and having one qualifying child and $47,646 for those who are married filing their tax returns jointly and having one qualifying child.


  4. $15,820 for those filing tax returns as single and having no qualifying children and $21,710 for those who are married filing their tax returns jointly and having no qualifying child.

What is the amount of credit?

The actual amount of credit you can claim would depend on your income and the number of your qualifying children.  The maximum credits that can be obtained for the tax year 2020 are mentioned below:-

  1. $6,660 for those who are having three or more than three qualifying children
  2. $5,920 for those who are having two qualifying children
  3. $3,584 for those taxpayers having one qualifying child
  4. $538 for those taxpayers who have no qualifying children

What do you mean by a qualifying child?

For a child to be qualifying for the EITC, there are some tests which the child must meet.

  • Age –
    The child must be below the age of 19 years or the age of 24 years if he is a full-time student or he can be of any age if he is permanently disabled.

  • Residency
    You and your child should have lived in the US together for at least a period of more than half a year.
  • Relationship
    Your qualifying child can be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, or your brother, sister, half brother or sister, or step brother/sister.


  • Joint ReturnYour child would not be a qualifying child for claiming the EITC if he has filed a joint return. 


Hence, EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) is one of the best credits which can be of great advantage for those Americans who are struggling with their finances. Qualified tax software must be used by the Americans to maximize their EITC. However, it is advisable not to commit any fraud to obtain the credit as it can lead to being penalized by the IRS.

Why file your taxes early through e-File?

Why file your taxes early through e-File?

Why file your taxes early through e-File?


On 12th February 2021, the IRS opened up the tax season for the year 2020 and now the process of e-filing is going on.  It is a common scenario where taxpayers wait till the end of the tax season for filing their tax returns. But, there is no significant reason as to which one should wait till the end for filing their tax returns.

Undoubtedly, tax refunds would have an impact on your finances and if you have a refund due from the IRS then it is even wiser to file your returns soon.

Let us have a look at the main reasons to file your tax returns early

1.To obtain the refunds soon

The pandemic COVID-19 has been the main reason for affecting the finances of millions of Americans. Many have become unemployed and many have been furloughed. In such adverse financial situations, tax refunds would be helpful and you would like to have your refunds as soon as possible. According to the IRS, every 9 taxpayers out of the 10 taxpayers filing their tax returns would receive their tax refunds within 21 days of e-filing or even faster than that. Moreover, there are a large number of tax deductions and credits available which would make your refund amount a bigger one. So, why not file for your tax returns early and get your refunds soon.

2.More time to pay your taxes   

Even if you have taxes to be paid to the IRS, you still can file your tax returns early. In case you file your tax returns early there would not be the necessity to pay your taxes due by the mid of April which is the deadline for tax payment. If you are filing your tax returns early, you will have ample time to understand and figure out how to pay your taxes. Moreover, you would also have the option to make contributions to the IRA in 2020 and can even avail the benefits of additional tax deduction.

3.Avoiding tax extension

If you are filing your taxes early, then you are going to avoid the chances of filing for a tax extension. Tax extensions are mainly not due to financial needs but due to disorder or disarrangement. Many people who are waiting until the last minute to file their tax returns are in the need of extra time to find out about the deductions or find out the receipts. 

If you are filing for a tax extension and you are not able to pay whatever you owe, you will be charged with interest and penalties on your outstanding debts. If you are preparing your tax returns early, you can be able to avoid this situation.

4.Financial Information

In case, you are in a phase where you are expecting that you will be purchasing a house, you would be starting your studies again, etc. then you must start filing your tax returns early. By this, you can get the essential information soon. College-going students would be able to use the information provided in Form 1040 for financial aid and if you are a home buyer then you can also show your completed tax return as your household income’s proof. When your tax returns are done early, then the paperwork for these processes can begin early.

5.Preventing tax refund fraud

By filing your tax returns early, you may not be able to eliminate the threat of identity theft. However, it will help protect your tax refund. It might happen that before you file your tax return, someone else has already filed a tax return using your Social Security number (SSN). This is tax refund fraud or scam and usually, it occurs early in the tax season before most taxpayers have filed their returns. So, you should try to keep your SSN a secret and make an attempt to file your taxes early. 

6.Less competition 

It is quite tough to get good and expert tax professionals that would help you in your tax return preparations. If you have not taken an appointment, it is difficult to get one now. Some tax professionals would even charge more when the tax filing deadline approaches closer.  So, the best way is to avoid all troubles by filing your tax returns early.

7.Avoid tax deadline stress

Most of the taxpayers are always stressed about filing their tax returns. It is a complicated task and it is better to get rid of the difficult things soon. Once, your tax return filing is done you can just sit back, relax and wait to receive the refund.


Hence, it is good to file your tax returns early to utilize the various advantages of early filing offers. So, if you have not filed your tax returns you must plan to do it soon.

Tax Deductions for single NR Indian Women in the US

Tax Deductions for single NR Indian Women in the US

Tax Deductions for single NR Indian Women in the US

The tax season has arrived and it’s the perfect time for your finances to boost up. This is the perfect time for claiming your tax deductions and receiving maximum tax refunds. If you are a single NRI woman residing in the US then you have a lot of opportunities to knock your taxes right now.

A win-win with your taxes

As a single NRI woman in the US, you will not have to wait for the arrival of your various financial documents such as both the sets of Form W-2, Form 1099s, and some other financial documents, unlike the couples.  Since there is less paperwork involved and less information to be collected, you can start filing your tax returns immediately and thus; obtain your tax refunds soon. 

For maximizing your tax refunds, there are a few ways by which you can get the best tax refunds this tax season.

Your correct tax filing status

  • One of the most important steps you can take while filing your Federal taxes is to ensure that you are filing your tax returns by using the correct filing status.

  • According to the IRS, there are five major categories under which you can file your tax returns i.e. Single, Married but filing tax returns separately, Married but filing tax returns jointly, head of a household, and a qualifying widower who has a dependent child.

  • Your taxes, tax credits, deductions, standard deductions, etc. would be mainly based on your tax filing status.

  • If you are filing your tax returns with the Single status, then the current Standard Deduction that can be claimed is $12,400.

  • If you are filing your tax returns as the “Head of the Household” status, then you can claim a bigger Standard Deduction of $18,650. However, this can be feasible if you have the status of both Single and also supporting a dependent.

The 401(k) plan and the IRAs

After your filing status, the next thing which you need to consider is the 401(k) plan. This can be an excellent way for you to obtain some tax benefits. 

  • In case contributions are being made to your 401(k) plan, and then it is one of the best things which you have done. By this, the contributions which you are making are pre-tax that would help in lowering your taxable income. Moreover, by these contributions to the 401(k) plan your investments would easily become tax-free.

  • Furthermore, you can also make contributions into your 2019 IRA up to an amount of $6,000 and $7,000 if you are 50 years or more. By this, you would get a good tax deduction on your taxes for 2020.

Family and Dependent credits

  • If you are a single parent and you are meeting the income limits then the EITC (Earned Income Tax credit) would be a great benefit.

  • This credit can help in lowering the taxes which you owe for payment and you can also qualify for obtaining a refund.  In case, you are a single mother having 3 kids or more than 3 kids then you can obtain a credit of up to $6,660.

  • In general, the biggest expense associated with children is the daycare expenses. Those expenses can be easily offset by using the Child and Dependent Care Credit.

  • The Child and Dependent Care Credit can vary up to 35% of your expenses up to $3000 for one child i.e. $1050 and 35% of your expenses up to $6000 i.e. $2100 for two children.

  • In case, you are having a qualifying child who is below the age of 17 years then you would be able to claim Child Tax Credit i.e. $2000.

  • By the deductions, you are lowering the taxable income you have whereas with tax credits you are decreasing the taxes you owe.


So, if you are a Single NRI woman in the US then these tax deductions and credits can help reduce your taxes and increase your refunds.

Being temporarily Furloughed can affect your taxes

Being temporarily Furloughed can affect your taxes

Being temporarily Furloughed can affect your taxes

By the pandemic COVID-19, many Americans have been affected by the financial perspective as some have lost their jobs while some have been furloughed from their work. When you lose your job or rather you are laid off, there is no assurance or promise that you would be re-hired by the same organization. However, if you are furloughed it means you can come back and start working again when the circumstances change. In the case of furlough, you will not have to face the formalities of the re-hiring process and even would be able to enjoy employer benefits such as health insurance benefits even during the times of being furloughed.

In case, you have been furloughed you must have received the Unemployment benefits and you may not be sure about the taxability of the Unemployment benefits. The Stimulus payment that has been received under the CARES Act is not taxable. However, the unemployment benefits are taxable and you would have to report them in your 2020 tax returns. After your return to work, you would be receiving your salary check and your Unemployment benefits would be coming to an end. The salary you are going to receive would remain taxable. However, if you are re-hired into your organization but with a lesser number of work hours then you would still be receiving the unemployment benefits.

What to expect while filing the tax returns?

 From a tax refund perspective, what can you expect while you are filing your tax returns for the year 2020? The tax refund you obtain would mainly depend on the amount you have taken out of your salary paycheck for the Income Tax withholding. In case you have taken out more in each pay period than the Income taxes you owed then while filing a tax return it’s obvious for you to obtain a tax refund.

  • During the year 2020, if you have received lesser paychecks as you were furloughed for a particular period of the year then there would have been few pay periods during which the withholding was taken out. So, this would result in a lower refund at the time of filing your tax returns.
  • Moreover, if you did not have any taxes that have been withheld from your unemployment benefits then you might not be having enough taxes withheld for covering taxes at the tax rate.  
  • Furthermore, you can make a voluntary request for withholding 10% of the unemployment benefit which you have received. This can be done by filling the Form W-4V i.e. Voluntary Withholding Request.
  • Since you have earned quite less during the year 2020 due to unemployment it would affect your tax rates too. This would mainly depend on for what duration you were furloughed and what was the amount of other income you had during that year.

Steps that can be taken for tax rates if furloughed

If you have been furloughed for some time during the year 2020 and there has not been enough withholding done from the Unemployment benefits, then the below-mentioned steps can be taken.

  1. You can easily adjust your withholding once you join back your work by filling the new Form W-4 Employee Withholding Certificate.
  2. You can claim various credits and deductions such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), some education tax benefits, or the Saver’s Credit, etc.  You might not have been eligible for taking these credits earlier as your income would have been higher than the income threshold.
  3. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act have a special look back provision. The lookback provision would help those workers who had lower income during the year 2020 or received Unemployment income in compensation for their regular wages in obtaining more tax credits and larger refunds.


Hence, if you have been furloughed then the above-mentioned guidelines on the tax rules would be helpful for you to understand the credits, deductions along with tax refunds.

The erstwhile Tax Mistakes to avoid in 2021

The erstwhile Tax Mistakes to avoid in 2021

The tax laws in the US are quite complicated but the taxpayers make quite simple mistakes while filing their tax returns. 

Let us have a look at the most common tax mistakes which are made by the US taxpayers and can be avoided during this tax year.

  • Not filing tax returns on time

According to the estimates made by the IRS, 20% of the US taxpayers would wait till the last date for filing their tax returns.  However, waiting till this last minute can cause them to miss the deadline.  Even if the taxpayers are filing a request for an extension in the deadline to file the tax returns there would be the need to pay any tax that is owed by the actual deadline. In case, the tax payments are not made by the due date then the taxpayer would be charged interest by the IRS.

  • Incorrectinformation

This is one of the most common mistakes made by the taxpayers while filing their tax returns. Some of them either leave some boxes blank or some make a typo error while filling important details like Social Security Number.

One of the easiest methods by which you can avoid this is by importing the tax return which has been filed in the previous tax year. By this, you can avoid any typo error associated with manual entry of the filing information.

 Not aware of the latest tax laws

The US tax laws are not only complicated but are subject to minor changes every year. It is imperative for the taxpayers to know in detail about the changes that have been made into the tax laws so that they do not miss the details on the tax deductions and credit.

  • Filing status errors

The filing status of a taxpayer would determine the tax rate of a taxpayer and his eligibility to avail the tax deductions. If a wrong filing status is being chosen by a taxpayer then he would have to either underpay or overpay the taxes which would have its own implications on the cost. For instance, married couples who are filing tax returns jointly have different rules than those who are filing their returns separately.

 Making wrong choices about itemizing

While filing your tax returns, you can either choose between itemizing or claim a Standard deduction. If you are itemizing then you would not be able to claim Standard Deductions. Out of the two, you can choose either one out of the two choices. 

There are certain deductions which you can claim easily without the need for any itemizing. These deductions can be making contributions into the IRA or the deduction related to the Student loan interest. However, some deductions can only be claimed if itemized which gives up the right for claiming the Standard Deduction. 

  • Not getting any help while tax filing

Tax filing is complicated and should not be done on your own. You can take the help of various software programs which are designed with the aim of making tax filing easier and simpler. You can answer a series of simple questions which would help you in identifying your deductions and credits and thus, simplifying your process of filing the returns.

Moreover, taxpayers can also take assistance from tax professionals then it would be a great option to avoid any mistakes while tax filing.

  • No copy of the return

Usually, the tax experts and professionals would advise on keeping a copy of the tax return filed for a period of at least two years. That’s a general time period for which the IRS would be able to legally audit the taxpayers for the gross under-reporting of their income. 

  • Not reporting all income

If taxpayers are not reporting all of their income, then the probabilities are quite high that the IRS would know about them. As the IRS receives forms like Form W-2s and Form 1099S for the entire income you earn, it is quite easier for the IRS to know even if you are not reporting. 

The IRS can carry criminal prosecutions for any wrong or non-reporting of income by the taxpayers. Taxpayers can be penalized for the non-reporting of all income and it is always advisable to report the correct income to the IRS.


So, now since the taxpayers have an idea about the erstwhile tax mistakes it is wiser to be careful, avoid these mistakes and rule out the possibilities of being penalized.