Does an inmate in a federal prison have to file federal and state tax returns while they are incarcerated?

Question by The “L” Word: Does an inmate in a federal prison have to file federal and state tax returns while they are incarcerated?
Does an inmate incarcerated at a federal prison have to file federal tax return for each and every year they are locked up? Do they have to file state returns even if the state they are presently in isn’t their property state? Can a relative claim him as a dependent for every year they are in prison?

Best answer:

Answer by quantumrift
You only have to file an earnings tax return if you had ‘taxable’ earnings in the course of the previous year.

And NO, they can not be claimed as a dependent.

What do you feel? Answer beneath!


  1. neonatheart says:

    no b/c its illegal for imates to make money while they are in prison. and you only file tax if you have an income.

  2. slickmickeygal says:

    how would they be earing income if they are in prison?

  3. sdn90036 says:

    If you don’t earn any money you do not have to file a tax return.

    If you earn an income that is high enough that you are required to file a tax return, then you must do it.

    If you are in prison your relative cannot claim you as a dependent. The feds are paying all of the expenses of supporting you.

    Good luck.

  4. taxreff says:

    Prisoners have the same filing requirements as anyone else. That being said, unless they have outside investment income they would be under the income filing minimums.

    A relative would not be able to claim him as a dependent. The relative would not provide over half the inmates’s support.

  5. Sandie B says:

    No they don’t file federal or state tax returns and I suggest not claiming one as a dependent either. (unless you can prove more than half their care)
    That is clear cut defrauding the law, you could end up in jail yourself.

  6. acmeraven says:

    They file a return if they have income and are requaired to do so. Just like our service personnel in some god forsaken foreign waste land have to file a tax return. You can run, go to prison, yada; but you can’t hide.

  7. Judy says:

    If the person had taxable income for the year, then yes they’d have to file.

    No, a relative couldn’t claim them if they are in prison all year – there is no way the relative could meet the requirements to claim them. If they’re only there for a small part of the year, it’s possible that someone could meet the requirements and claim them as a dependent for the year.

  8. saiiiii says:

    In Attica Prison in the New York state, they don’t pay taxes and they don’t have the right to vote — this is generally the rule

    In Oregon, working inmates (garments “Prison Blues” company) pay taxes from the wages they earn —

    i’m not sure… i guess inmates are only taxed on the wages they earn if they are lucky (and well-behaved) enough to get a paying job inside the prison walls…

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