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IRS.gov Website
Instructions for Form 1040-A
taxmap/instr/i1040a-001.htm#TXMP594a062f

Filing Requirements(p7)

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taxmap/instr/i1040a-001.htm#TXMP6d5c67a5
These rules apply to all U.S. citizens, regardless of where they live, and resident aliens.
efile
Have you tried IRS e-file? It's the fastest way to get your refund and it's free if you are eligible. Visit IRS.gov for details.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-001.htm#TXMP622380e1

Do You Have To File?(p7)

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Use Chart A, B, or C to see if you must file a return.
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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 any of the following credits.
  • Making work pay credit.
  • Earned income credit.
  • Additional child tax credit.
  • American opportunity credit.
  • First-time homebuyer credit (must file Form 1040).
  • Credit for federal tax on fuels (must file Form 1040).
  • Adoption credit (must file Form 1040).
  • Refundable credit for prior year minimum tax (must file Form 1040).
  • Health coverage tax credit (must file Form 1040).
taxmap/instr/i1040a-001.htm#TXMP306e377d
Exception for certain children under age 19 or full-time students.(p7)
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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 2010 or was a full-time student under age 24 at the end of 2010. To do so, use Form 1040 and Form 8814. If you make this election, your child does not have to file a return. For details, use TeleTax topic 553 (see page 79) or see Form 8814.
A child born on January 1, 1987, is considered to be age 24 at the end of 2010. Do not use Form 8814 for such a child.
taxmap/instr/i1040a-001.htm#TXMP64d93a92
Resident aliens.(p7)
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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/i1040a-001.htm#TXMP55858971
Nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens.(p7)
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These rules also apply if you were a nonresident alien or dual-status alien and both of the following apply.  
See Pub. 519 for details.
caution
Specific rules apply to determine if you are a resident alien, nonresident alien, or a 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.