How Much Do You Need to Make to File Taxes?

How Much Do You Need to Make to File Taxes?

How Much Do You Need to Make to File Taxes?

Preparing and filing your federal income taxes is an annual chore for most Americans. Not everyone is required to file a tax return, though. Depending on your age, filing status and income, you may not be required to file federal income taxes. Even if you aren’t required to file taxes, you might want to consider filing a tax return to claim tax credits or get a refund.

Tip

The minimum income to file taxes depends on your age, the source of your income and your marital status.

What Is the Minimum Amount of Income to File Taxes?

If you’re filing for tax year 2017 or before, the minimum income to file taxes is based on the combination of your personal exemption and your standard deduction. The personal exemption is being eliminated beginning with the 2018 tax year, so now the minimum amount to file taxes is based on the standard deduction. The income requirements are different for people age 65 and older, people who are blind and taxpayers who can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.

Exceptions to Minimum Tax Filing Requirements

You may be required to file a tax return even if you're below the minimum tax filing requirements. You must file if you owe any special taxes such as recapture taxes, additional taxes on health savings accounts, the alternative minimum tax or additional taxes on a qualified retirement plan. You also have to file if you earned more than $108.28 from a church or if you earned more than $400 from self-employment. You also must file if you received distributions from a health savings account or if you had coverage through the Affordable Care Act and received premium tax credits to help pay for your health insurance premium.

You should also consider filing if you may be entitled to a tax refund. For example, you should consider filing if you had federal income tax withheld from a job or if you made any estimated tax payments. Since your income was below the standard deduction, you may be entitled to a refund. You may also be entitled to a refund if your income is below the minimum filing requirements, but you’re entitled to a refundable tax credit.

Two of the most common tax credits are the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Credit. The Child Tax Credit is nonrefundable for 2017, but it is partially refundable beginning with the 2018 tax year. For the 2018 tax year, the Child Tax Credit is worth up to $2,000 per child that qualifies, and up to $1,400 of that amount per child is refundable. The Earned Income Credit is based on your income, your filing status and how many children you are claiming (if any). It also varies from year to year.

If You Can Be Claimed as a Dependent

If you can be claimed as a dependent, you have different minimum tax filing requirements. For the 2017 tax year, if you’re single and under age 65, you should file if you had $1,050 in unearned income, $6,350 in earned income or your gross income is more than $1,050. Single filers who are age 65 or older or blind should file if they have $2,600 or more in unearned income, $7,900 or more in earned income or gross income of more than $2,600. Married dependents under age 65 and not blind should file if they have more than $1,050 in unearned income, $6,350 in earned income or a gross income of $1,050. Married dependents age 65 or older or blind should file if their unearned income is $2,300 or their earned income is $7,600 or more. The official numbers for the 2018 tax year will likely be similar to or slightly higher than these 2017 minimums.

Minimum Amount to File 2018 Taxes

Since there are no personal exemptions allowed for the 2018 tax year (filed in 2019), the minimum income required to file income taxes is based on the standard deduction. If you’re filing as single and you are younger than age 65, you may need to file if your income is more than $12,000. If you’re filing as single and you are age 65 or older or blind, you may be required to file if your income is $13,600, unless you are widowed. If you’re widowed and age 65 or older, you may need to file if your income is $13,300 or higher.

If your filing status is married filing jointly, you will need to file if your combined gross income is higher than $24,000. If you or your spouse is age 65 or older, you will be required to file if your combined gross income is $25,300. If you and your spouse are both age 65 or older, you will be required to file if your combined income is above $26,600. If you’re married filing separately, you may need to file if your income is at least $12,000.

If you are filing as head of household and you are under age 65, you may be required to file if your income is $18,000 or higher. If you are head of household and age 65 or older, you may need to file if your income is $19,600.

You may want to file 2018 taxes even if you’re below the minimum income requirements if you think you may qualify for the Earned Income Credit. For 2018, you can receive a tax credit ranging from $3,461 to $6,431 depending on your income, marital status and how many children you have. If you don’t have any children, you may qualify for a credit of $519. You also can’t have more than $3,500 in investment income.

Minimum Amount to File 2017 Taxes

For the 2017 tax year and earlier, the minimum income to file taxes is based on a combination of your standard deduction and your personal exemptions. Single filers younger than age 65 may need to file a return if their income is at least $10,400. Single filers age 65 or older may need to file if their gross income is more than $11,950.

Married couples filing jointly and younger than age 65 might need to file if their gross income is $20,800 or higher. If one member of the couple is age 65 or older, they might need to file if their joint gross income is $22,050 or higher. If both spouses are age 65 or older, they may need to file a tax return if their income was at least $23,300. If you are married filing separately, you might need to file if you have $4,050 or more in income.

If your filing status is head of household and you are younger than age 65, you may need to file if your income is $13,400. If you are age 65 or older, you might need to file if you have $14,950 or more in gross income.

You may still want to file even if you may not be required to do so if you think you may qualify for the Earned Income Credit. Depending on your marital status, income and the number of children you claim on your tax return, you could earn a credit of $3,400 to $6,318. If you don’t have any qualifying children, you may qualify for a credit of $510. You also can’t have more than $3,450 in investment income.

Video of the Day

Brought to you by Sapling
Brought to you by Sapling
 

About the Author

Melinda Hill Sineriz is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience. Her work has appeared on Pocket Sense and Sapling. She specializes in business, personal finance, and career writing. She has worked in insurance sales and financial planning, helping families to manage their money and prepare for the future. Learn more about her and her work at thatmelinda.com.