These rules apply to all U.S. citizens, regardless of where they live, and resident aliens.
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Use Chart A, B, or C to see if you must file a return. U.S. citizens who lived in or had income from a U.S. possession should see Pub. 570. Residents of Puerto Rico can use TeleTax topic 901 (see page 84) to see if they must file.
Even if you do not otherwise have to file a return, you should file one to get a refund of any federal income tax withheld. You should also file if you are eligible for the earned income credit, additional child tax credit, health coverage tax credit, refundable credit for prior year minimum tax, first-time homebuyer credit, or recovery rebate credit.
If certain conditions apply, you can elect to include on your return the income of a child who was under age 19 at the end of 2008 or was a full-time student under age 24 at the end of 2008. To do so, use Form 8814. If you make this election, your child does not have to file a return. For details, use TeleTax topic 553 (see page 84) or see Form 8814.
A child born on January 1, 1985, is considered to be age 24 at the end of 2008. Do not use Form 8814 for such a child.taxmap/instr/i1040gi-002.htm#TXMP45b9a4cb
These rules also apply if you were a resident alien. Also, you may qualify for certain tax treaty benefits. See Pub. 519 for details.taxmap/instr/i1040gi-002.htm#TXMP05899a5a
These rules also apply if you were a nonresident alien or a dual-status alien and both of the following apply.
- You were married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the end of 2008.
- You elected to be taxed as a resident alien.
See Pub. 519 for details.
Specific rules apply to determine if you are a resident alien, nonresident alien, or dual-status alien. Most nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens have different filing requirements and may have to file Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ. Pub. 519 discusses these requirements and other information to help aliens comply with U.S. tax law, including tax treaty benefits and special rules for students and scholars.