Do I Need to File a Tax Return?

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You need to refer to the income chart inside the form instructions to confirm if the IRS requires you to file the annual income tax return. For state tax returns, you'll want to do the same.

Do I Need to File Taxes? |
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When do you have to file taxes?

The answer changes for each taxpayer because we all have different lives — our household composition differs from each other, and we don't earn the same income.

You can focus on two main areas:
  1. Filing Status. Are you single, married, a widow, or head of household?
  2. Income. Did you make more than the minimum income threshold (it changes every year)? Don't forget, if you're over 65 years old, you get a small bump for being a senior citizen.
Refer to the IRS form instructions chart that lets you determine if you need to file based on your specific details.

TIP: Check out the online IRS tool to access a free 12-minute interview.


File a tax return even if you don't have to

If you're under the income threshold for your filing status, then the IRS may owe you a refund for any taxes you paid in the tax year (withholdings, estimated tax payments). You won't access the money if you never file a tax return.

The IRS has a specific timeframe to audit the information you submit to their department. If you make a mistake and do not file a tax return (when you should have done so), then the clock never stops on that tax year because it never started (the IRS didn't receive a tax return from you).

DISCLAIMER: Please consult with your accountant, attorney and financial advisor before implementing any information displayed on this website. DIY research does not replace the advice of a licensed professional who has thoroughly reviewed your file.