The filing requirement rules for individual federal income tax returns are fairly straightforward. In general, you are required to file a return based on your filing status, your gross income, and your age. Here’s an overview of the rules for 2016 tax returns.
Single taxpayers (including those who are divorced or legally separated).
If you’re under 65 and had gross income of at least $10,350 in 2016, you must file. If you’re 65 or older, the cutoff is $11,900.
Head of household taxpayers (generally, unmarried people who provide a home to a child or other dependent)
If you’re under 65 and had income of at least $13,350, you’ll need to file. If you’re 65 or older, the cutoff is $14,900.
Married taxpayers filing jointly
Filing is required if both spouses are under 65 and income is at least $20,700. If one spouse is 65 or older, the cutoff is $21,950. If both spouses are 65 or older, gross income must be at least $23,200 to require filing. If you were married but not living with your spouse at the end of 2016, filing is required if you have income of $4,050 or more, regardless of your age.
Your dependent child with more than $1,050 of unearned income or $6,300 of earned income will have to file. You’ll also have to file if you have net profit from self-employment of at least $400, or if you earn tip income and your employer did not withhold social security or Medicare taxes. Remember, too, that if you do not have enough income to require a return, but federal income tax was withheld from your income, the only way you can get a refund is to file.
If you’re not sure of your tax filing requirements, contact us for the latest information.