The filing requirement rules for individual federal income tax returns are fairly straightforward. In general, you’re required to file a return based on your filing status, your gross income, and your age. Here’s an overview of the rules for filing a 2016 tax return.
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.
Other situations. 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 don’t 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.