How Much Do I Need to Earn to File a Tax Return?

How Much Do I Need to Earn to File a Tax Return?
The answer to the question whether one needs to file a tax return or not depends on certain things, like your age, income level and whether you meet certain other requirements. Even if one does not have to file, it may be in your best interest to do so anyway in order to recoup refund monies that may be owed to you. According to the IRS, Americans leave billions of dollars on the table by not filing a return. The average amount people walk away from is $500 – read on to find out if this applies to you.
Minimum Income to File a Federal Income Tax Return
  • Single / Under 65 / $9,500
  • Single / 65 or Older / $10,950
  • Head of Household / Under 65 / $12,200 …
  • Head of Household / 65 or Over / $13,650
  • Married Filing Jointly / Both Under 65 / $19,000
  • Married Filing Jointly / One Over 65 / $20,150
  • Married Filing Jointly / Both Over 65 / $21,300
  • Married Filing Separately / Any Age / $3,700
  • Widow(er) with Dependent Children / Under 65 / $15,300
  • Widow(er) with Dependent Children / Over 65 / $16,450

Other Circumstances that Require You to File a Tax Return

Regardless of one’s income, you are generally required to file an income tax return if any of the following applies:

  • You owe household employment taxes
  • You owe additional taxes on a retirement plan or health savings account
  • You owe Social Security and Medicare taxes on unreported tip income
  • You had net self-employment earnings of $400 or more
  • You earned $108.28 or more from a tax-exempt church or church-controlled organization
  • You received distributions from an MSA or Health Savings Account

It May Be in Your Best Interest to File Anyway

Following is a list of circumstance that may make you eligible for a tax refund, so it may be in your best interest to file.

  • If you had taxes withheld from your pay, you must file a tax return to receive a tax refund.
  • If you are claiming education credits, you must file to be refunded the American Opportunity Credit.
  • If you have a qualifying child but owe no tax, you can file to be refunded the Additional Child Tax Credit.
  • If you qualify, you must file a return to claim the First-Time Home-buyer Credit.
  • If you qualify, you must file to claim the refundable Health Coverage Tax Credit.
  • If you adopted a qualifying child, you must file to claim the refundable Adoption Tax Credit.
  • If you qualify, you must file to claim the Credit for Prior Year Minimum Tax.
  • If you overpaid estimated tax or applied a prior year over-payment to this year, you must file to receive the refund.
  • If you qualify for the federal fuel tax credit, you must file to receive it.
  • If you qualify, having earned under certain limits, you may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit

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