03
Apr

Do I Have to File Taxes?

With just a few weeks left until the tax filing deadline, you might be panicking if you haven’t gotten around to filing your tax return yet. But there’s a chance that you actually might not be legally required to file a return.

Income Guidelines for Filing Taxes

Your income alone may preclude you from having to file a tax return. The income threshold is based on your filing status which in turn is based on your marital status and household composition. Age and blindness also factor into the gross income filing requirement.

The IRS has a tool, Do I Need to File a Tax Return?, where you can enter your filing status and income information and receive an answer as to whether or not you have to file.

If another taxpayer can claim you as a dependent on their tax return, you are subject to different income guidelines that determine if you need to file a tax return or not.

Situations Where You Are Required to File Taxes, Regardless of Income

There are several situations that would require you to file a federal tax return regardless of your income level with the following being the most common:

  • Self-employment. If you have any income from self-employment such as doing freelance work or side jobs like rideshare programs, and your total profit after accounting for your expenses is $400 or more, you will need to file a tax return and pay self-employment tax.
  • Tipped workers who have unreported tip income. If you earn tips at your job, you need to file a tax return to report unpaid Social Security and Medicare taxes on tips you haven’t reported to your employer. You must also file a tax return if your employer reported the tips but did not withhold additional taxes.
  • Unemployment benefits. If you received unemployment compensation at any time throughout the year and it was reported on a 1099-G form, you must file a tax return.
  • Home sale. Even if you didn’t profit from the sale and have no taxable income resulting from selling your home, you still need to file a tax return in order to report the sale of your home.

Should I File a Tax Return Even I’m Not Required To?

There are many benefits of filing a tax return even if you don’t have to. If you had extra income tax withheld at your job, you can file a return to get a tax refund. You may also qualify for substantial benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit.

Having a tax return in the system is also helpful if you are trying to apply for college aid, housing, and other processes that request verifiable information about your income. 
 
Rue & Associates is here for all of your tax filing questions and can fill you in on the benefits of filing a return even if you aren’t required to. Give us a call today to speak to one of our friendly and professional tax law experts.

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