What to know about filing an Arizona state tax return

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In a Nutshell

Filing your Arizona state tax return can be as taxing as the scorching heat in the Grand Canyon State. Here’s information that can help you get the job done.

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This article was fact-checked by our editors and reviewed by Troy Grimes, tax product specialist with Credit Karma Tax®. It has been updated for the 2019 tax year.

Filing your income taxes is a necessary chore every year, but your job may not be finished just because you’ve sent your federal returns to the IRS.

If you live in the Grand Canyon State, you may not only face withering heat and dust storms, but you may also need to pay an Arizona state tax on your income. Luckily, Arizona processes refunds rather quickly, especially if you file your tax forms online. And if you owe money and can’t pay? You can arrange to pay in monthly installments.

This handy guide can help you with things you need to know to complete your Arizona state tax return.



What are the basics of Arizona state taxes?

Also called the Copper State for its mineral wealth, Arizona has a sales tax, use tax and county-level property taxes.

In addition, all residents with an adjusted gross income of at least $5,500, as well as temporary residents who earn any income in the state, must file state income tax returns. Taxpayers in other states who earn any income in Arizona may have to report the income and file a return.

Taxing body

The Arizona Department of Revenue is the taxing body for the state. It offers taxpayer education in the form of events and online tutorials.

For personal income tax questions, call the department at 1-602-255-3381 or 1-800-352-4090 (international calls and from area codes 520 and 928 only) Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mountain time. If you want to talk with someone in person, the department offers walk-in assistance, though it’s limited to just two locations in the state.

1. Main Office
1600 W. Monroe St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007

2. Southern Regional Office
400 W. Congress
Tucson, AZ 85701

Filing and payment deadline

You must file your state tax returns by April 15 each year, which is the same deadline for federal returns. And if you owe money to the state of Arizona, you’ll need to pay by this date, as well. If the annual deadline falls on a holiday or a weekend, it will be moved to the next business day.

Filing statuses

Arizona has four filing statuses, including some that are similar to those recognized by the IRS.

  • Single
  • Married filing separately
  • Married filing jointly
  • Head of household, if you qualify as a widow or widower on your federal return, are a a single mom or dad supporting a qualifying person or dependent, or a single person supporting a dependent

Additionally, if you’re an injured spouse, you may qualify for protection of joint overpayment. If Arizona owes you and your jointly filing spouse a tax refund and your spouse owes back child-support pay, past due taxes, etc., this unusual filing status provision allows you to shield your part of the tax refund from being seized by the state to pay the debt.

Learn how filing status affects your federal taxes

Arizona income tax rate(s)

Your annual income and filing status determine your tax rates. Arizona has four income tax brackets for individual taxpayers, with rates of 2.59%, 3.34%, 4.17% and 4.50%.

What are some Arizona deductions and credits to know?

Arizona standard deductions vs. itemizing

Just like on your federal return, you can choose to either take the Arizona standard deduction or itemize deductions on your Arizona state tax return. You can itemize deductions on your state return even if you chose the standard deduction for your federal return.

The 2019 Arizona standard deduction amounts are the same as federal standard deduction amounts.

  • $12,200 for a single or married taxpayer filing a separate return
  • $24,400 for married couples filing a joint return
  • $18,350 for individuals filing as head of household

While you generally have to itemize deductions on your federal return in order to take a deduction for charitable giving, the state of Arizona allows certain taxpayers to increase their standard deduction amount by 25% of the amount they contributed to charity during the tax year. But you’ll need to complete a worksheet — found in the state’s Form 140 instructions — and file it with your return in order to claim the increase.

Arizona’s personal and dependent exemptions no longer apply, but you can take a nondependent exemption of $2,300 for each person 65 or older if you paid at least $800 for that person’s medical costs, nursing care or residential care costs. A taxpayer is also allowed a $2,300 exemption for a stillborn child.

Typically, if you can take any deductions on your federal tax return, you can also take them on your Arizona state tax return as long as you attach your federal itemized deduction list (Federal Form 1040, Schedule A) with your state return. In some situations, you may need to make adjustments to your federal itemized deductions.

Arizona also offers a few tax credits of its own. Here are some that are available for 2019.

Dependent tax credit

Taxpayers may claim a $100 dependent tax credit for each dependent younger than 17 and $25 for each dependent who is 17 or older. The credit amount is reduced if your federal adjusted gross income is $400,000 or more and you’re married filing jointly. The threshold is $200,000 or more for those filing as single, head of household or married filing separately.

Credit for solar energy devices

One thing’s for sure in Arizona: There’s a lot of sunshine. So much so, in fact, that the state offers a handy tax credit if you want to take advantage of that solar fuel. If you install solar devices on your home, you can claim up to 25% of the cost as a nonrefundable tax credit, up to a cap of $1,000.

Credit for contributions to qualifying charitable organizations or foster care charitable organizations

Arizona maintains a list of certain charitable organizations and foster care charitable organizations each year that you can get credit for supporting. If you donate to one of the eligible charities, you can claim a tax credit of up to $800 if you’re married filing jointly or a maximum of $400 if you’re filing under any other status. If you donate to one of the foster care charitable organizations, you can claim a tax credit of up to $1,000 if you’re married filing jointly or a maximum of $500 under any other status.

Credit for contributions made or fees paid to public schools

Did you pay for Junior to attend his school’s band camp, or are you returning to a tech school to brush up on your career skills? You may be able to claim this cost as a tax credit worth up to $400 if you’re married filing jointly (or $200 if you’re filing under any other status). The credit is available only if you pay those expenses directly to a public school for eligible activities or programs, including career or technical education and extracurricular programs.

Arizona family tax credit

If your income meets requirements for your filing status, you may be able to claim a nonrefundable Arizona family income tax credit. You’ll need to complete a worksheet (found in the 140 instructions) to calculate the amount of credit you may be eligible for.

FAST FACTS

What’s the difference between tax credits and tax deductions?

Both tax credits and tax deductions can help reduce your tax bill, but they work in different ways. A deduction reduces the amount of income you pay taxes on, which means you could pay less in taxes. A credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the amount of tax you owe. Learn more about the difference between tax deductions and tax credits.

How can I file my Arizona state tax?

The Arizona Department of Revenue operates a website called AZTaxes, where you can e-file both your federal and state tax returns as well as make any state tax payments that are due. This can be a fast, easy and more error-proof way to file your returns. If you file electronically and are expecting a refund from the state, you might get the amount in as little as one week. You may be able to use the free Credit Karma Tax® service to calculate and file your federal and Arizona state tax returns online, depending on your filing status and what credits you claim.

If you opt to go the paper route, you can download all the tax forms from the department’s website. For paper returns, here are the mailing addresses.

With a payment

Arizona Department of Revenue
P.O. Box 52016
Phoenix, AZ 85072-2016

Without a payment

Arizona Department of Revenue
P.O. Box 52138
Phoenix, AZ 85072-2138

You also can get help with filing your return from the state of Arizona. Call the department’s taxpayer assistance line at 1-800-352-4090 (toll-free if you’re in area codes 520 and 928) or 1-602-255-3381 (from elsewhere). If you need in-person help and additional information, you can visit either of these department offices listed above.

What if I owe and can’t pay?

If you owe taxes and can’t afford to pay the full amount due by the annual tax-filing deadline, the Arizona Department of Revenue offers monthly payment plans. But you’ll have to comply with various rules.

How can I track an Arizona tax refund?

You can easily check the status of your tax refund online. You’ll need to enter your Social Security number, filing status, ZIP code and relevant tax year.


Bottom line

Filing your taxes may not be as enjoyable as a spa in Sedona or as exciting as hiking the trails around the Grand Canyon. But it’s still probably a good idea to get your Arizona state tax return done sooner than later. This could help prevent identity theft tax fraud and allow you to receive your refund sooner. More importantly, you can avoid the stress that goes hand in hand with procrastinating.

If you live in Arizona and earn income in another state, you might want to check whether you need to file more than one state tax return.

Learn how to track the status of a federal refund

Troy Grimes is a tax product specialist with Credit Karma Tax®. He’s worked in tax, accounting and educational software development for nearly 30 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in business analysis from Texas A&M University. You can find him on LinkedIn.