Do you ever wonder whether your income is high enough to warrant the filing of a tax return? Because the minimum income level varies depending on filing status, age, and the type of income you receive, it can be a bit complicated. The following guide is based on minimum income requirements from tax year 2011.
Married Filing Jointly
If you are not living with your spouse at the end of the year or you weren't living with them on the day they passed away, the IRS requires you to file a return if your gross income is at least $3,700. This is based on the personal exemptiion, which in tax year 2011 was $3,700.
For married persons filing a separate return, no matter what age, you must file a return if gross income is at least $3,700.
Head of Household
Qualifying Widow or Widower
Other Situations That Require Filing
Other situations include:
You Owe Certain Taxes. If you owe FICA or Medicare taxes (also called payroll taxes) on unreported tips or other reported income that were not collected, you must file a return. You must also file a tax return if you are liable for any alternative minimum tax. Finally, you must file a return if you owe taxes on individual retirement accounts, Archer MSA accounts, or an employer-sponsored retirement plan.
Advance Earned Income Tax Credit Payments. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a federal income tax credit for eligible low-income workers. The credit reduces the amount of tax an individual owes, which may be returned in the form of a refund. If you receive advance payments for the earned income credit from your employer, you must file a return.
Self-Employment Earnings. If your net earnings from self-employment are $400 or more, you must file a return.
Church Income. If you earn employee income of at least $108.28 from either a church or a qualified church-controlled organization that is exempt from employer-paid FICA and Medicare taxes, you must file a return.