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Factors such as age, disability, filing status, and income will determine whether or not the U.S. federal government requires you to file a tax return. The charts below will assist you in determining this.
However, just because you are not required to file a tax return does not necessarily mean you shouldn't. Later in this article, we will discuss the reasons to file a tax return even when it is not required.
There is no set minimum income for filing a return. The amount varies according to both filing status and age. The minimum taxable income level for each group is listed in the following chart. If your income falls below what is listed for your age group and marital status, you are not required to file a return.
|Filing Status||Age||Minimum Income Requirement|
65 or older
|Married Filing Separately||Any age||$5|
|Head of Household|| |
65 or older
|Married Filing Jointly|| |
Under 65 (both spouses)
65 or older (one spouse)
65 or older (both spouses)
|Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Children|| |
65 or older
Being claimed as a dependent on someone else’s taxes changes the rules a bit, and it does not rule out the possibility that you will still be required to file. If you are an adult, working dependent, you will likely be required to file your own return.
|Marriage Status||Age||Minimum Income Requirement|
|Single Dependents||Under 65 (and not blind)||$12,400 earned (or $1,100 unearned)|
|Single Dependents||65 or older OR blind||$14,050 earned (or $2,750 unearned)|
|Single Dependents||65 or older AND blind||$15,700 earned (or $4,400 unearned)|
|Married Dependents||Under 65 (and not blind)||$12,400 earned (or $1,100 unearned) OR Your gross income was at least $5 and your spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions.|
|Married Dependents||65 or older OR blind||$13,700 earned income (or $2,400 unearned) OR Your gross income was at least $5 and your spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions|
|Married Dependents||65 or older AND blind||$15,000 earned (or $3,700 unearned) OR Your gross income was at least $5 and your spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions|
Even if your income bracket is below the minimum listed for your age group and status, you usually must file a Federal Tax Return if you fall into any of the following “special circumstances” categories.
Not being required to file may be a bad reason not to do so, especially if you could use a little extra money following the holiday season. Refunds cannot be claimed without filing a return. Here are some reasons why a refund might be due to you: