Are You Required To File A Tax Return

Not everybody is required to file an income tax return. If you are a US citizen or resident, usually, the filing requirements depends on your gross income, filing status and age. In general, if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than your standard deduction and the allowed personal exemptions, then you do not have to file a return. For year 2010, the following are the filing requirements:

Single

If your filing status is single, you are required to file if your gross income is at least:

  • $9,350 and you are under the age of 65
  • $10,750 and you are 65 years or older

Married Filing Jointly (MFJ)

If you and your spouse are filing jointly, you are required to file if the gross income is at least:

  • $18,700 when both spouse are under the age of 65
  • $19,800 when one spouse is under the age of 65
  • $20,00 when both spouse are age 65 or older

Married Filing Separately (MFS)

If you and your spouse are filing separately then you are required to file if  the gross income is at least $3,650 regardless of age on each of the spouse return.

Head of Household (HOH)

If your filing status is Head of Household, you are required to file if your gross income is at least:

  • $12,050 if you are under the age of 65
  • $13,450 if you are age 65 or older

Qualifying Widower With Dependent child

If your filing status is Qualifying Widower With Dependent child, you are required to file if your gross income is at least:

  • $15,050 if you are under the age of 65
  • $16,150 if you are age 65 or older

However, different requirements/rules may apply if you are:

  • a dependent on someone else’s return
  • children under the age of 19 or full-time student under the age of 24
  • aliens
  • self-employed individuals

Please consult a tax professional if you fall into any of the above categories. It should be noted that even though you are not required to file because you meet the requirements, there are cases that it may be beneficial if you do.  This will be discussed it my next post.

Source: Irs.gov Publication 17