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Who is required to file a tax return?


Who is required to file a tax return?

Generally, everyone should file an income tax return each year. However, if you are under age 65 and single with no dependents, and your total income does not exceed the standard deduction ($6,350) plus one exemption ($4,050) and you aren't a dependent to another taxpayer, then you don't need to file a federal tax return. In essence, if your income is equal to or less than the sum of the exemption and the standard deduction, the IRS doesn't require you to file a return.

If you are at least 65 years and unmarried then you must file an income tax return if your gross income, not including social security, is $11,850 or more. If you are married and file a joint return with your spouse who is also 65 or older, you must file a return if your combined gross income is $23,300 or more. However, if social security is the only source of income, then you don't have to file a federal tax return.

If you are claimed as a dependent on someone's tax return, then you are subject to different IRS filing requirements. Since a dependent is unable to claim their own exemption, a tax return is necessary when earned income is more than the standard deduction for a single taxpayer.

The rules are different for self employed taxpayers. Those who have net income of $400 or more are required to file.

Furthermore, even if a taxpayer doesn’t have a requirement to file, it is highly recommended that they should because they may get some money back. This can be the case if the taxpayer qualifies for a refundable credit, or an employer withheld federal income tax at any point during the tax year, or if the taxpayer made estimated tax payments, or if the taxpayer overpaid last year and had it applied to this year’s tax.


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