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Should You File a Tax Return?


Friday, December 14, 2007
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You must file a tax return if your income is above a certain level. The amount varies depending on filing status, age and the type of income you receive.

The IRS uses the following income thresholds to determine whether you must file a federal income tax return for 2007.

Single Taxpayers
If you expect to file a single return, the IRS requires you to file a return for 2007 if your gross income for the year is at least: $8,750 if you are under age 65. $10,050 if you are at least age 65.

Married Filing Jointly
For married persons filing jointly, you are required to file a return if gross income for 2007 is at least: $17,500 if both of you are under age 65. $18,550 if one of you was at least age 65. $19,600 if both of you were at least age 65.

If you are not living with your spouse at the end of the year or on the date that a spouse should die, the IRS requires you to file a return if your gross income is at least $3,400. Each personal exemption in 2007 is worth $3,400. Married filing separately. For married persons filing a separate return, no matter what age, you must file a return if gross income is at least $3,400.

Head of Household
For persons filing as head of household, you must file a return for 2007 if gross income is at least: $11,250 if under age 65. $12,550 if at least age 65.

Qualifying Widow or Widower
For persons filing as qualifying widow or widower with dependent child, you must file a return for 2007 if gross income is at least: $14,100 if under age 65. $15,150 if at least age 65.

Even if you don’t earn this much income, other situations exist to determine whether you must file a tax return. For example, a dependent has to file a return for 2007 if they received more than $850 in unearned income or more than $5,350 in earned income. Other situations include:

You Owe Certain Taxes
If you owe FICA or Medicare taxes (also called payroll taxes) on unreported tip or other reported income that were not collected, you must file a return. You must also file a tax return if you are liable for any alternative minimum tax. You must also file a return if you owe taxes on individual retirement accounts, Archer MSA accounts or an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Advance Earned Income Tax Credit Payments
The Earned Income Tax Credit is a federal income tax credit for eligible low-income workers. The credit reduces the amount of tax an individual owes, and may be returned in the form of a refund. If your receive advance payments for the earned income credit from your employer, you must file a return.

Self-Employment Earnings
If your net earnings from self-employment are $400 or more, you must file a return.

Church Income
If you earn employee income of at least $108.28 from either a church or qualified church-controlled organization that is exempt from employer-paid FICA and Medicare taxes, you must file a return.

 

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About Chuck Chuckuemeka

Chuck is managing partner of Chuckuemeka & Associates, a nationally focused CPA firm specializing in Accounting, Auditing, Consulting and Tax Advising.

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