Tax season is upon us, with the deadline only a couple of months away. And that deadline will be here before you know it.

Getting all of your tax information prepared as early as possible (meaning start now if you haven't) is important. But depending on the money you make and how you plan on filing your taxes, there's another important thing to figure out: do you even make enough money to require filing taxes?

It can be a worthwhile question if you're not making that much money. If you're below a certain threshold of annual income, you may not need to file them. However, often even in these cases there are other circumstances that will necessitate a tax return, such as the health insurance you have, whether you're self-employed or whether you're eligible for an earned income tax credit.

If these don't apply to you, though, do you need to file taxes?

How Much Do You Have to Make to File Taxes?

Income-based tax requirements will be dependent on how you plan on filing a tax return. Inevitably whether you'll need to file a tax return who have to do with whether you're income can even make it past the first tax bracket and how much more if so, but those tax brackets vary depending on how you file.

How Much You Have to Make Based on Filing Status

So are you planning on filing single (no spouse or dependent), married filing jointly, married filing separately or head of household? Let's break them all down.

Single: If you are single and under the age of 65, the minimum amount of annual gross income you can make that requires filing a tax return is $12,000. If you're 65 or older and plan on filing single, that minimum goes up to $13,600.

Married and filing jointly: How much you have to make if you're married and filing jointly will depend on the age of both you and your spouse, generally coming out to double what someone filing single would require. If both spouses are under 65, you need to make at least $24,000. If both spouses are 65 or older, you will have to make a minimum of $26,600. If just one of you is 65 or older, split the difference; you need to make $25,300.

Qualifying Widower: If you are a qualifying widower (meaning your spouse died in this tax year) with a dependent child, you are also able to file as married filing jointly, and the age disparity still applies: at least $24,000 if you're under 65, at least $25,300 if you're 65 or older.

Married and filing separately: Those who are married and filing separately, interestingly, only require a gross income of $5 to have to file a tax return.

Head of household: If you qualify for head of household status and look to file as such, you have to file a tax return if you make $18,000 or more under the age of 65. If you are 65 or older, that number is $19,600 in gross income.

How Much Do You Have to Make if You're a Dependent?

You may still have to file a tax return even if you're being claimed as a dependent, depending on a number of factors. There's the earned income you make, the unearned income you make (another term for passive income) and your gross income, and the minimums for all of these will be determined by either your age or whether or not you are blind.

If you are a single dependent under the age of 65 and not blind, you will have to file a tax return if:

  • You made more than $1,050 in unearned income
  • You made more than $12,000 in earned income
  • Your gross income was more than the larger of either $1,050 or your earned income up to $11,650 plus $350

If you are a single dependent who is either 65 or older or blind, you will have to file a tax return if:

  • You made more than $2,650 in unearned income
  • You made more than $13,600 in earned income
  • Your gross income was more than the larger of either $2,650 or your earned income up to $11,650 plus $1,950

If you are a single dependent who is BOTH 65 or older AND blind, you will have to file a tax return if:

  • You made more than $4,250 in unearned income
  • You made more than $15,200 in earned income
  • Your gross income was more than the larger of either $4,250 of your earned income up to $11,650 plus $3,550

If you are a married dependent under the age of 65 and not blind, you will have to file a tax return if:

  • You made more than $1,050 in unearned income
  • You made more than $12,000 in earned income
  • Your gross income was $5 or more and your spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions
  • Your gross income was more than the larger of either $1,050 or your earned income up to $11,650 plus $350

If you are a married dependent who is either 65 or older or blind, you will have to file a tax return if:

  • You made more than $2,350 in unearned income
  • You made more than $13,300 in earned income
  • Your gross income was $5 or more and your spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions
  • Your gross income was more than the larger of either $2,350 or your earned income up to $11,650 plus $1,650

If you are a married dependent who is BOTH 65 or older AND blind, you will have to file a tax return if:

  • You made more than $3,650 in unearned income
  • You made more than $14,600 in earned income
  • Your gross income was $5 or more and your spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions
  • Your gross income was more than the larger of either $3,650 or your earned income up to $11,650 plus $2,950

Do You Have to File Taxes if You're a Student?

Your parents can claim you as a dependent up to age 19, unless you continue your education in which case they can claim you as a dependent through age 24. If you're being claimed as a dependent, check the aforementioned requirements of dependents to see if you fit them. If so, you'll have to file a tax return.

Even if you don't have to file a tax return, you may still want to look into it. Depending on your situation, you may be able to deduct a limited amount of higher education expenses or claim education-specific tax credits like the American Opportunity Credit.

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