Tax Questions & Tips

How much do you have to make to file taxes?

December 1st, 2022 Dec 1, 2022 • Read time: 4 min

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How much do you have to earn to file taxes? The amount of income needed to file a tax return can vary due to many different factors. Your age and filing status (single, married, etc.) are the main things that will determine how much you need to earn before needing to file a tax return. Let’s take a deeper look at different tax situations and the minimum income that is required to file a return in each one.  

In general, single filers (meaning those not filing as part of a couple), will need to file taxes if they are under 65 and have an annual earned income above $12,550. 

For married couples who are filing jointly and for people over the age of 65, the income threshold for filing taxes is higher — we break down the details in a chart, below.

However,  there are a select few situations where the income limit to file taxes is significantly lower. For example, for married people who are filing separately, the threshold is only $5 of annual income. And, in the case of self-employment, net earnings of $400 or more means you need to file a tax return.

Read on to better understand filing thresholds for even more unique situations.

Minimum income to file taxes

Below are the filing situations that apply to most taxpayers and the amount of gross income necessary to file. Note that all of the numbers refer to “gross income”, which is all of the income that you receive that isn’t exempt from taxes. 

Income limits for most taxpayers

If you are under 65If you are 65 or older
Married and filing jointly$25,100 if both spouses are under the age of 65.
$26,450 if one spouse is under 65 and one is age 65 or older.
$27,800 if both are age 65 or older.
Head of household$18,800.$20,500.
Married but filing separately$5.$5.
Qualifying widow or widower$25,100.$26,450.

Filing statuses can be confusing. Here are the main filing statuses and what they mean:

  • Single: In general, you are considered single if you are unmarried as of the last day of the year for which you are filing taxes. However, if you are unmarried, you may also be able to file as ‘head of household.’
  • Head of household: In most cases if you are unmarried, paid more than half the cost of upkeep on a home for the year, and have a qualifying person live in your home for more than half of the year, you may be able to file as ‘head of a household.’
  • Married: You are considered married if on the last day of the year you are filing for you were married and living together, married but living apart, in a common-law marriage, or several other circumstances. Depending on your situation, you and your partner can decide whether to file taxes jointly or separately.
  • Widow/Widower: The primary criteria for filing as a widow or widower is that you were entitled to file a joint tax return with your spouse for the year that they passed away though several other conditions must also be met.

Do I have to file taxes if I make less than the minimum?

Even if you do not meet the minimum income to file taxes, there are many situations where you may still need to file. 

Generally, you will have to file if:

  • You earned more than $400 in self-employment income
  • You made over $108.28 from a church or church-related organization
  • You have received money in a health savings account (HSA)
  • You owe taxes on an HSA or Individual Retirement Account (IRA)
  • You owe Medicare or Social Security tax on unreported tips, or on tips that your employer hasn’t taken out of your pay
  • You, your spouse, or your dependent received premium tax credit payments for health coverage that was obtained through the insurance marketplace
  • You, your spouse, or your dependent received health coverage tax credit payments for health coverage through the insurance marketplace

While these are the most common reasons to file despite making less than the income threshold for filing, there are additional situations where you may need to file taxes as well. Talking with a tax professional can help you make sure that you’re doing everything correctly. 

Need help filing taxes?

Filing taxes can be a stressful and confusing process. At Sun Loan, we have more than two decades of preparation experience and offer multiple ways to file. Whether you drop your tax information off at one of our branches, file with us in-person, or upload online, we’ll make sure that you get the biggest refund possible. To learn more and get started, click here.

Author – Doug Flach

Doug Flach is a partner at Accurate Tax Solutions, a tax preparation firm based out of Alpharetta, GA. Doug’s resume boasts over two decades in the tax industry with a specialization in tax return p... Read more »

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