Filing US taxes homeless
April 25, 2015 11:43 PM   Subscribe

I was homeless for part of the year last year. I'm filing late (with deferral, sorry I didn't bring this up on Askmefi when it would be more pertinent) because I just now got all the proper info together. Is there anything I should know about filing US taxes for a year in which I was occasionally homeless and/or unemployed?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (2 answers total)
Am a tax preparer (if sporadically), am not yours, etc. It shouldn't really impact much if you're not homeless now (in which case I just don't know at this point what you'd put down as your address). Don't worry about filing late; even if you owed, the penalties aren't nearly as bad as people often fear.

Depending on your income for the rest of the year, if you're low-income, it's worth checking to see if you qualify for the Earned Income Credit--a lot of people who qualify don't file for it. If the unemployment led to you losing health coverage, be aware that with the new health care tax stuff, there's a specific exemption for a short gap, which is less than three months. There are also exemptions for income and, most notably for you, homelessness, so even if based on income and lack of coverage you'd ordinarily owe the fee, you should make sure you apply for the hardship exemption.

But that's the only thing I know of that's directly homelessness-related, on a federal level. As far as the unemployment goes, remember that unemployment benefits are taxable, you should have gotten a 1099-G if you received them.
posted by Sequence at 12:36 AM on April 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

I have been on the street over 3 years. I have had zero problem filing my taxes.

I filed my federal online this year through a commercial service for $12. There are online services that say they will do it for free if you are poor enough, but I discovered that later. I filed my state separately by filling out the paperwork on a public computer, saving a copy of the PDF for my records, printing it and mailing it in.

Do you have a mailing address you can use? I have always had something I could use as a mailing address.

If you feel you need help, you can get help for free through VITA. I did that my first year on the street. I found a VITA site by calling 211. If you go to VITA, you will need to have proof of your social security number.

A lot of people on the street lose their social security card. I was able to use a printed page from a prior year's taxes as proof of social security numbers for my sons when I went to VITA. If you have filed your taxes online in the past, you may have access to a copy of an old return via Internet and be able to print the page with your social as evidence of your social.

You won't need proof of your social security number if you file online. You will just need to know what it is.

Some of my experiences filing while homeless:
posted by Michele in California at 2:02 PM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

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