Do I need to file a tax return?

This time of year I get many calls asking simply “Do I need to file a tax return?”

There is far more to this questions than a simple look at a chart (as provided below) and determining yes or no.

Depending on your unique tax situation, the source of your income and your filing status you may not be required to file but you may want to file for several reasons.

  1. File to get a refund of tax withheld by your employer or other sources.
  2. File to determine if you qualify for a refundable credit and therefore a refund greater than taxes withheld. Even if you didn’t have tax withheld you may still be entitled to a refund.
  3. File to determine and pay self-employment tax.
    1. If your gross earnings from self employment were $400 or more you must file.
    2. If you have church employee income of $108.28 or more you must file.
  4. File so the three year statute of limitations to audit is set. Generally the IRS has 3 years from the later of the due date or the date the return is filed to audit. If no return is filed the 3 year rule is not set and there is no time limit for an audit.
  5. Any many other possible reasons….

Do I have to file a tax return

 

For tax year ending 12/31/2014 (return you file in 2015) IF NO OTHER PERSON CAN CLAIM YOU AS A DEPENDENT you are not required to file a return unless your income is above the Gross income a threshold:

FILING STATUS & AGE                                            GROSS INCOME

  • Single and under 65                                                            $10,150
  • Single and 65 or older                                                         $11,700
  • Married filing jointly, under 65 (both spouses)                  $20,300
  • Married filing jointly, 65 or older (one spouse)                  $21,500
  • Married filing jointly, 65 or older (both spouses)               $22,700
  • Married filing separately, any age                                         $3,950
  • Head of household, under 65                                              $13,050
  • Head of household, 65 or older                                           $14,600
  • Qualifying Widow(er) with dependent child, under 65      $16,350
  • Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child, 65 or older    $17,550

 

For tax year ending 12/31/2014 (return you file in 2015) IF ANOTHER PERSON CAN CLAIM YOU AS A DEPENDENT you are required to file a return if:

Single and neither over age 65 nor blind if the individual had:

  1. Unearned income over $1,000;
  2. Earned income over $6,200; or
  3. Gross income of more than the greater of:
    1. 1,000, or
    2. The sum of the individual’s earned income (up to $5,850) and $350

 

Single and either 65 or older or blind if the individual had:

  1. Unearned income over $2,550 ($4,100 if 65 or older and blind);
  2. Earned income over $7,750 ($9,300 if 65 or older and blind); or
  3. Gross income of more than the greater of:
    1. $2,550 ($4,100 if 65 or older and blind), or
    2. The sum of the individual’s earned income (up to $5,850) and $1,900 ($3,450 if 65 or older and blind).

 

Married and neither over age 65 or blind if the individual had:

  1. Unearned income of more than $1,000;
  2. Earned income of more than $6,200;
  3. Gross income of at least $5 and the individual’s spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions; or
  4. Gross income of more than the greater of:
    1. $1,000, or
    2. The sum of the individual’s earned income (up to $5,850) and $350.

 

Married and either 65 or older or blind if the individual had:

  1. Unearned income of more than $2,200 ($3,400 if 65 or older and blind);
  2. Earned income of more than $7,400 ($8,600 if 65 or older and blind);
  3. Gross income of at least $5 and the individual’s spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions; or
  4. Gross income of more than the greater of:
    1. $2,200 ($3,400 if 65 or older and blind), or
    2. The sum of the individual’s earned income (up to $5,850) plus $1,550 ($2,750 if 65 or older and blind)

 

If a child’s only income is interest and dividends, the child was under age 19 at the end of 2014 or was a full-time student under age 24 at the end of 2014, and certain other conditions are met, a parent can elect to include the child’s income on the parent’s return. If this election is made, the child does not have to file a return.

 

This is based on what generally applies. Exceptions may apply, be sure to discuss your unique situation with your CPA.