Non-Filer or Social Security Income Recipient

Generally, recipients of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and individuals with little or no income do not have to file a tax return. However, you might have reasons to file a zero income or low income tax return in order to qualify for 2020-2021 stimulus payments, file a state return only for state credits or state taxable retirement income, or for other reasons.


In most cases, there is only a need to file an income tax return if you have taxable income over a certain amount, if you had taxes withheld from your paychecks, and/or if you received healthcare through the Healthcare Marketplace. If you are unsure, you can use this simple five-minute tool to determine if you need to file taxes.

However, there are other reasons you may need to or want to file even if you do not have earned income that is taxable. Many retired individuals may need to file state taxes if their state taxes retirement and/or Social Security income that is not taxable by the IRS (Social Security and Roth IRAs, for example). You may also want to file a state only return if you need to claim a state tax credit that does not require earned income, such as a homestead credit. Maryland, for example, offers the MD Homestead Tax Credit which does not have an income requirement or limit to claim.

If you need or want to file a tax return without earned income, start below:

If you are unsure if you need to file, use these simple resources:

Free Tax Calculator | Filing Requirement Tool | Contact Us

Quick and easy instructions: Add Form SSA-1099 to your account

Filing Requirements

Determining if you have to file based on your income can be difficult. There is taxable and nontaxable income which can get tricky when you have both. Do you have to file taxes if your only income is Social Security? Disability or SSDI? Veterans' benefits? Find out now:

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The filing requirements vary by tax year in terms of age, filing status, type of income, and other factors. Because of this, it can be difficult to know whether or not you should file or if you are required to file. For the current year, it is free to start a tax return on with no commitment. Input your information and income and eFile will show you in real time if you need to file taxes.

There were also many state stimulus check programs for which you may need to file a non-filer state income tax return. States with income tax codes require residents to send in a tax form or fill out an online form in order to claim this payment. Non-filers can use the federal Form 1040 to claim IRS stimulus checks; they can use state tax forms for their state in order to claim any state stimulus credits. However, most of these deadlines have passed; check your state in the table here or contact your state.

Confused? Discuss your situation with a Taxpert first for free. Only on will you have a free personal tax support page, not on TurboTax® or H&R Block®.

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Stimulus Check Non-Filer Returns

On, we have provided instructions for the last two years to e-file 2020 and 2021 Taxes to claim stimulus payments. However, the time to e-file these has passed and stimulus payments cannot be claimed through current tax returns. If you did not receive any of the payments, you will need to file back taxes. Here is a brief history of the stimulus checks for non-filers:

  • A misconception was created that a non-filer, stimulus, or simple tax return was required by every taxpayer to receive a stimulus check. That was not so; a regular 2019 Tax Return and/or 2018 Return on file with the IRS was sufficient to receive the Economic Impact Payment. Most SSI, SSDI, and Social Security recipients were supposed to have received these payments without having to file anything. However, many taxpayers filed non-filer returns prior to filing regular tax returns.
  • 2020 Tax Returns were due in 2021. On the 2020 1040 tax form, the IRS added a line item - line 30 - called the Recovery Rebate Credit as well as the Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet. You could claim this through the Recovery Rebate Credit if you did not receive your 1st Stimulus Payment or EIP during 2020. In addition, if you did not receive the 2nd Stimulus Payment during late 2020 or early 2021, this is also claimed through the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 Tax Return. Note: if you did not receive a portion of either payment, you can also claim this. For example, if you were supposed to receive an additional $500 or $600 for a qualifying dependent, indicate this on your return. File 2020 Taxes to claim these two payments.
  • 2021 Tax Returns had similar implications from the 2020 Form 1040 in order to claim any missing payments for Stimulus 3. Again, the 2021 Form 1040 used Line 30 to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit.

Here are the tax forms and tax calculators for back taxes or previous year tax calculators.

There is no current federal stimulus programs - see the details on the rumored fourth stimulus check that never passed. Be aware that stimulus payments expire like tax refunds; if you are missing your payment, file as soon as possible.