Who Must File Taxes?


Quick Answer

The income tax filing requirement for a U.S. citizen or resident depends on the taxpayer's gross income, filing status and age. For 2014, a single nondependent taxpayer under 65 must file if his gross income exceeds $10,150. Married taxpayers under 65 file with income over $20,300, according to the I.R.S.

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Full Answer

A taxpayer who can be the dependent of another taxpayer, such as a parent, has to file a return if she has investment income over $1,000 or earned income more than $6,200. Individuals, dependent or not, over age 65 or blind have slightly higher filing thresholds, according to the I.R.S. Thresholds are subject to change each year.

For purposes of filing requirements, gross income includes all income received, whether as money, goods, property or services, if not otherwise exempted from income tax. It includes income that may be excluded from tax under some circumstances, such as foreign income or profit on the sale of a primary residence, according to the I.R.S. The taxable portion of any social security received is also included.

Other situations that can trigger a filing requirement include self-employed individuals with over $400 in gross income; alternative minimum tax owed; uncollected social security or Medicare tax on tips that were not reported to an employer; recapture of tax credits from prior year, such as education; distributions of any amount from a health or medical savings account; individuals who are required to reconcile the Advance Premium Tax Credit. Early distributions from a retirement plan or owing household employment taxes require that a specific form be filed but may not need a complete tax return, according to I.R.S. Publication 17.

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