Saturday, February 7, 2015

Explaining who needs to file a tax return in 2015

Whether or not you are required to file a federal income tax return this year will depend on how much you earned (gross income) — and the source of that income — as well as your filing status and your age. Your gross income includes all the income you receive that is not exempt from tax, not counting your Social Security benefits, unless you are married and filing separately.

Here’s a rundown of the IRS filing requirements for this tax season. If your 2014 gross income was below the threshold for your age and filing status, you probably won’t have to file. But if it’s over, you will.

Single: $10,150 ($11,700 if you’re 65 or older by Jan. 1, 2015).

Married filing jointly: $20,300 ($21,500 if you or your spouse is 65 or older; or $22,700 if you’re both over 65).

Married filing separately: $3,950 at any age.

Head of household: $13,050 ($14,600 if age 65 or older).

Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child: $16,350 ($17,550 if age 65 or older).



SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

There are, however, some other financial situations that will require you to file a tax return, even if your gross income falls below the IRS filing requirement. For example, if you had earnings from self-employment in 2014 of $400 or more, or if you owe any special taxes to the IRS such as alternative minimum tax or IRA tax penalties, you’ll probably need to file.

To figure this out, the IRS offers a tool on their website that asks a series of questions that will help you determine if you’re required to file, or if you should file because you’re due a refund.

You can access this page at irs.gov/filing — click on “Do you need to file a return?” Or, you can get assistance over the phone by calling the IRS helpline at 800-829-1040. You can also get face-to-face help at a Taxpayer Assistance Center. See irs.gov/localcontacts or call 800-829-1040 to locate a center near you.

CHECK YOUR STATE

Even if you’re not required to file a federal tax return this year, don’t assume that you’re also excused from filing state income taxes. The rules for your state might be very different. Check with your state tax agency before concluding that you’re entirely in the clear. For links to state and local tax agencies see taxadmin.org— click on “State Agencies/Links” on the menu bar.