Not everyone is required to file a federal tax return. Whether you need to file or not is dependent upon various factors. Some factors include age, filing status and income.
Minimum Income Requirements – If your income was below the minimum income for your filing status, you may not be required to file a return. (However, as typical with tax law, there are exceptions to this rule. See ‘exceptions’ below). Following are the minimum income requirement thresholds based on filing status for the year 2016 (2017 information is not available at this time)
|Single||65 or older||11,900|
|Married Filing Jointly||Under 65||20,700|
|Married Filing Jointly||One spouse is 65 or older||21,950|
|Married Filing Jointly||Both spouses are 65 or older||23,200|
|Married Filing Separately||Any age||4,050|
|Head of Household||Under 65||13,350|
|Head of Household||65 or older||14,900|
|Qualifying Widow(er) with dependent child||Under 65||16,650|
|Qualifying Widow(er) with dependent child||65 or older||17,900|
Dependents – A dependent is required to file a return if any of the following is true:
If your dependent is 65 or older, the figures are:
The IRS provides a table with the above information.
Even if you fall below the minimum income thresholds above, you may be required to file a tax return. The most important reason is to request a refund if the tax withheld from your paycheck or the estimated federal tax payments you made exceed your tax liability. The only way to receive a tax refund is to file a return. Following are some additional exceptions:
|If filing…||Qualifying Children Claimed|
|Zero||One||Two||Three or more|
|Single, Head of Household or Widowed||$15,010||$39,617||$45,007||$48,340|
|Married Filing Jointly||$20,600||$45,207||$50,597||$53,930|
In addition, there are various credits for which you may qualify (education credits and child tax credit, for instance). You need to file a return in order to receive these credits.
If you are still uncertain if a federal tax return is required, use this IRS interactive tool.