Are You Required to File a Tax Return?

what are the requirements to file taxes

By William Perez. Tax Planning: U.S. Expert

William Perez has worked as a tax professional since 2004. He earned the enrolled agent designation by passing a comprehensive examination on federal taxes and maintains his credential by taking continuing education classes.

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What's involved is a simple process of gathering facts and then using those facts to look up information in the filing requirement tables. Even if a person is not required to file a return, it may be beneficial to file anyway. The filing requirement tables are provided for the year 2013. and we take a brief look at what the numbers in these tables mean.

What you need to know to determine if you are required to file

We need to know four things to use the filing requirement tables. (1) Whether a person is a dependent or independent.

(2) What a person's filing status is. (3) The person's age, and (4) the person's gross income. Gross income means "all income you receive in the form of money, goods, property, and services that is not exempt from tax," says the IRS in Publication 501.

How to use the tables to determine filing requirements

Once we have this information ready, we take a two-step process to determine if a person is required to file a tax return.

Process for independent taxpayers

Step 1. Use Table 1 to look up information.

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Step 2. Determine if a person's gross

income equals or exceeds the amount shown in Table 1 based on the person's filing status and age.

Possible outcomes:

  • If gross income does equal or exceed the amount shown, then the person is required to file a tax return.
  • If gross income is less than the amount shown, then look at the situations described in Table 3. If one or more of those situations applies to you, then you are required to file.

Process for dependent taxpayers

Step 1. Use Table 2 to look up information.

Step 2. Determine if a person's gross income equals or exceeds the amount shown in Table 2 based on the person's filing status and age.

Possible outcomes:

  • If gross income does equal or exceed the amount shown, then the person is required to file a tax return.
  • If gross income is less than the amount shown, then look at the situations described in Table 3. If one or more of those situations applies to you, then you are required to file.

Now let's take a look at the various filing requirement tables. These tables are published by the Internal Revenue Service in Publication 17 and in Publication 501. These are updated each year. These are the tables for the year 2013.

Table 1. 2013 Filing Requirements for Independent Taxpayers

(Adapted from Table 1-1 in Publication 17 (2013). page 5, pdf)

If your filing status is.

Source: taxes.about.com

Category: Taxes

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