When you don’t need to file taxes, but want to anyway

At the tax preparation center today, I had an interesting client. He was a recent immigrant, a grad student, with no income and no reason to file a tax return. In fact, the electronic filing system we use will not accept tax returns if there is no income and no tax due or refunded. But the guy was very concerned. He really wanted to do the right thing and file his taxes, and was reluctant to accept the fact that he didn’t need to. Perhaps he was afraid that he would get into trouble if he didn’t. I mentioned to the coordinator that there really ought to be a form for that – something we could give him that would attest to the fact that he’d come in ready to file and was told he didn’t need to. James thought for a second, and said, wait a minute. And he actually found a form that was sort of like that, that listed the minimum income below which you don’t need to file. So we gave it to this guy, thanked him for his conscientiousness, and sent him on his way.