Do you need to file a federal income tax return this year? Your age, income level, and filing status will usually point you to the right answer. But special rules apply in certain situations.
General Filing Rules for 2015 Tax Returns
- Single taxpayers (including those who are divorced or legally separated): If you’re under 65 and had gross income of $10,300 or more in 2015, you must file. If you’re 65 or older, the cutoff is $11,850.
- 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 $13,250, you’ll need to file. If you’re 65 or older, the cutoff is $14,800.
- Married taxpayers filing jointly: Filing is required if both you and your spouse are under 65 and income is at least $20,600. If one of you is 65 or older, the cutoff is $21,850. If both of you are 65 or older, gross income must be at least $23,100 to require filing. If you were married but not living with your spouse at the end of 2015, filing is required if you have income of $4,000 or more, regardless of your age.
- Married taxpayers filing separately: If you made at least $4,000, you must file, regardless of your age.
Special Tax Filing Rules
Different rules govern filing requirements for certain widows and widowers, dependents, those who owe special taxes (such as self-employment tax), children under age 19, and aliens. In some cases, such as if you are eligible for a refund, you’ll want to file regardless of your income level. In addition, if you receive an advance premium tax credit for health insurance premiums, or plan to claim the credit, you’ll need to file a federal income tax return.
Looking into your filing requirements each year is a good idea, especially if you have experienced a major life change.