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Do Stay at Home Moms Have to File Taxes?

Congratulations on becoming a stay at home mom. You and your child will enjoy this time. Cherish it. It goes by so fast. Trust me on this one.

Now that you have a routine a question comes to you:

Do Stay At Home Moms Have to File Taxes?

Disclosure: I am not a tax professional. This article is for informational purposes only. You are the adult and must consult your tax authorities as well as a competent tax accountant.

When I was a stay at home mom I had this same question. I didn’t have Google to look things up but I did have a phone book. In the front is a listing of all government authorities along with their addresses and phone numbers.

I found the Equalization Board of Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate Office. I called and spoke with a representative. Although I was able to get some answers to my questions it was made clear that I should not take it as legal tax advice.

The next step was to call my accountant. Work has been a part of my life since I was 16 and so has taxes. Her answer was yes and no. I’ll explain.

As a married couple you are given the options of filing jointly or separately. If as a couple you file jointly then yes, you do file. If separately, you decide based on earned and/or unearned income.

Let’s say I did not work the entire tax year. I don’t have earned income. I may have income from selling assets, business earnings, investments, alimony, royalties, and a number of other types of income – this would be unearned income. In the later case I need to file taxes whether I file a joint or separate return.

For most of my children’s early life my husband worked and I stayed home. I didn’t do freelance work nor did I have assets, interest from a savings account, or anything else that would be considered unearned income.

We did file jointly because our income was such that we qualified for the earned income tax credit alloted to families who make under a certain amount of money. If I recall correctly the occupation status was always marked as homemaker by the accountant.

Let’s say you don’t plan on taking advantage of the earned income tax credit – do you still have to file?

Note – go up and read that disclosure before this article started-this is only my opinion not legal advice.

It is an option but I would talk with a tax accountant. Filing as a mom who is the sole caretaker of her children may entitle you to deductions or other benefits.

Tax law is confusing even for those who do this for a living. Have you seen how thick the tax code is?

Remember you pay taxes locally, at the State level and at the Federal level. With laws changing each year and with taxes attached to the Affordable Health Care Act you can expect things to change for everyone not just moms at home with children.

Google is a great place to research information but for tax information I recommend irs.gov and your State Tax Equalization Board websites. They will be the most reliable places to start. If you still have questions talk to an accountant well versed in State and Federal Tax Code.

Don’t worry. Spend your time enjoying your child. Do what you normally do, save your receipts, keep accurate records, and file your taxes.

And now I invite you to read more on taxes for moms (bloggers in particular) on the blog.

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