Skip to content


You only need to file a tax return if your income is over a certain amount or if you qualify for certain credits and refunds, or if you have certain information that needs to be reported.

Your income

Whether you need to file based on income depends upon your filing status, what your gross income is, and how much tax was withheld from your income. Rather than list all the options here, it’s easier to go to the IRS web site to work through a series of questions to get the answer. You can file, even if you don’t have to, but be aware that you may be using an appointment that someone else really needs.

For most people who cannot be claimed as a dependent this table will suffice. But, if married filing separately and lived with spouse or if half of social security benefits plus tax-exempt interest plus gross income is greater than $25,000 ($32,000 if married filing jointly), or if you are a dependent and have income, then use the IRS web site instead.

Do not include social security benefits in gross income for this table.

Single under 65 $7,305
65 or older $8,505
Married filing jointly under 65 (both) $14,605
65 or older (one) $15,605
65 or older (both) $16,605
Married filing separately any age $5
Head of household under 65 $9,165
65 or older $10,365
Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child under 65 $10,180
65 or older $11,180

You also must file if:

  1. You had net earnings from self-employment of at least $400.
  2. You have health insurance through ACA, that is, you received an advanced premium tax credit to pay for your premiums.
  3. You owe any special taxes, such as Social Security and Medicare tax on tips that don’t appear on your W-2, or you are paying back a first-time homebuyer credit.
  4. You (or your spouse, if filing jointly) have a Health Savings Account (HSA)

You should file if:

  1. You had income tax withheld.
  2. You made estimated tax payments for the year or had any of your overpayment for last year’s estimated tax applied to this year’s taxes.
  3. You qualify for the earned income credit.
  4. You qualify for the additional child tax credit.
  5. You or a dependent had education expenses and received a 1099-T; you may qualify for an Education Credit.
  6. You receive a 1099-B (Broker Statement)
  7. You receive Form 1099-S, Proceeds from Real Estate Transactions.