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Tax Defense Network

Who Should File a Tax Return

January 28, 2014

There are many misconceptions about the IRS’ requirements for filing tax returns that lead many taxpayers to file taxes even when they don’t have to. The IRS has certain criteria when it comes to filing tax returns. Even if you received income in 2013, you might not be required to file a return. The filing requirements are influenced by the amount you earned, the source of the income, your filing status, and your age. If your income is below the threshold the IRS has specified for your income level, age, and filing status, you do not need to file taxes. These are the specifications:

  • If you are single and under 65, you do not need to file a return if your income is below $10,000.
  • If you are married filing jointly, and both you and your spouse are under 65 years of age, you do not need to file a return if your income is below $20,000.
  • If you the head of household and you are under 65, you do not need to file a return if your income is below $12,850.

Taxpayers who are 65 or older do not need to file a return if:

  • They are filing single and their income is below $11,500
  • They are filing jointly and their income is below $22,400 (if both spouses are 65 or older)
  • They are filing jointly and their income is below$21,200 (if one spouse is 65 or older)
  • They are filing as head of household and their income is below $14,350

The criteria is different for taxpayers who are claimed as dependents on another person’s return.

The self-employed need to file a return only if their net earnings are more than $400. The IRS considers both earned income and unearned income such as dividends and interest when it comes to the filing of taxes. Keep in mind that even if you are not required to file taxes, there may be some benefit in doing so. You may be entitled to a refund for excess withholdings or refundable tax credits.

If you are required to file taxes, you must file your return even if you cannot pay the entire amount of taxes owed.

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