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Grown: How to file Arkansas state individual income taxes

by Nyssa Kruse | February 23, 2021 at 9:41 a.m.
A worker processes income tax forms in this April 16, 2012, file photo.

This story is a part of The Article, your guide to Arkansas news and culture, presented by the Democrat-Gazette. Sign up for The Article's twice-weekly newsletter here or to see stories that have appeared in past newsletters, go here.

It’s that time of year — tax season. Arkansas has a state income tax, meaning most who earned money in the state must file a return each spring.

Here are the basics on Arkansas’ state income tax return filing process, according to resources from the state Department of Finance and Administration.

What is an income tax return?

A tax return is a form or series of forms a resident fills out showing how much income they’ve earned and how much they’ve paid in taxes, among other things. It determines whether a filer paid too much, too little or just the right amount of taxes for the year.

[More from Grown: How to get vehicles assessed, registered in Arkansas]

Who has to file an income tax return?

According to the Department of Finance and Administration, full-year residents of Arkansas for 2020 must file a tax return if they are:

• Single with a gross income of at least $12,675

• Head of household with one or no dependents and a gross income of at least $18,021 or with at least two dependents and a gross income of at least $21,482

• Married filing a joint return with one or no dependents and a gross income of at least $21,375 or at least two dependents with a gross income was at least $25,726

• Widowed in 2018 or 2019 and not remarried in 2020 with one dependent and a gross income of at least $18,021 or at least two dependents and a gross income of at least $21,482

Nonresidents or part-year residents who moved into or out of Arkansas during 2020 must file a return regardless of income.

What do the different filing statuses mean?

According to a guide from the finance department, the statuses are defined as:

Single: One person who did not cover living expenses for anyone else and was not married or was legally separated by the end of the year.

Head of household: Someone who was not married or was legally separated and either:

• Had at least one dependent

• Paid over half the cost of keeping a home in which the filer and someone else lived, even if the other person was not a dependent

Married: A legally married couple. Couples can choose to file jointly or separately.

Widowed: Someone whose legal spouse died in 2018 or 2019 and did not remarry by the end of 2020. The widowed person must also both:

• Have had a child, stepchild, adopted child, or foster child who qualified as a dependent for the year

• Paid more than half the cost of keeping a home which was the main home of that child

Dependent: A dependent is someone who:

• The filer provided more than half of the total support for during the year

• Had a gross income of $4,300 or lower for year (this does not apply to children 19 or younger or children 24 and younger who are full-time students)

• Is related to the filer or lived with them for the entire year (if someone was born or died during the year but was living with the filer during the time they were alive, they count)

• Does not file a joint return with a spouse (with the exception that a dependent can file a joint return to claim a refund of tax withheld if both the dependent and the dependent’s spouse would not have tax liabilities if they filed separate returns)

How can Arkansans file their returns?

There are two main ways to file Arkansas state tax returns: by mail or online.

To file by mail, full-year resident Arkansans can fill out this form. Nonresidents or part-year can fill out this form.

For people expecting a refund, they can mail the return to Arkansas State Income Tax P.O. Box 1000 Little Rock, AR 72201-1000. For those paying taxes or who do not expect a refund nor need to pay taxes, they can mail their return to Arkansas State Income Tax P.O. Box 2144 Little Rock, AR 72201-2144.

If an individual owes taxes, they can include a check with the return but not cash, according to the Department of Finance and Administration.

To file online, visit this site to see programs that partner with the state. Some are available for free, depending on a filer’s income and other factors.

When are returns due?

Tax returns must be submitted by April 15, unless an extension has been approved.

Where can I get help submitting my return?

The Department of Finance and Administration has an instructional guide for filers of all kinds. The department also has a Frequently Asked Questions page.

Additionally, the state operates an Individual Income Tax Hotline at (501) 682-1100 or (800) 882-9275.

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