Whether you must file a tax return primarily depends on your gross income, filing status, and age. Filling out Form 1040 will aid in determining whether you should file taxes.
Choosing a Tax Filing Status
A taxpayer’s filing status for the tax year is determined on the last day of the tax year, which is December 31 for calendar year taxpayers (Almost all taxpayers). Next, the filing status will be determined by whether you are single or married, and what the taxpayer’s current family situation is. Gross income on an income tax return includes all income that you receive in the form of money, goods, property, and services. It does not include any income that is tax-exempt such as interest from municipal bonds and other exceptions that are carved out by the IRS.
When You Must File a 2013 Return
If you are age 65 or older on the last day of the tax year, a taxpayer is allowed a higher amount of gross income before they are required to file a return.
Even if you do not have to file, you should file a tax return if you can get money back. For example, you should file if one of the following applies.
Who Must File Tax Return
- You had income tax withheld from your pay.
- You made estimated tax payments for the year or had any of your overpayment for last year applied to this year’s estimated tax.
- You qualify for the earned income credit. See Publication 596, Earned Income Credit (EIC), for more information.
- You qualify for the additional child tax credit. See the instructions for the tax form you file (Form 1040 or 1040A) for more information.
- You qualify for the refundable American opportunity education credit. See Form 8863, Education Credits.
- You qualify for the health coverage tax credit. For information about this credit, see Form 8885, Health Coverage Tax Credit.
- You qualify for the credit for federal tax on fuels. See Form 4136, Credit for Federal Tax Paid on Fuels.
Thus, when in doubt, it usually makes sense and is the best financial decision to file a tax return in order to avoid IRS Penalties and Interest.