Federal Taxes

Is there a minimum amount that I must earn in a year in order to be required to file my federal income taxes?

No, it is not that simple. There are a series of questions that the IRS has, which, if you answer yes to any, indicates that you need to file a return, including:

  • Did you have federal taxes withheld from your pension and wages for this tax year and wish to get a refund back?
  • Are you entitled to the Earned Income Tax Credit or did you receive Advance Earned Income Credit for this tax year?
  • Were you self-employed with earnings of more than $400?
  • Did you sell your home?
  • Will you owe any special tax on a qualified retirement plan, including an individual retirement account (IRA) or medical savings account (MSA)? You may owe tax if you:

    —Received an early distribution from a qualified plan;

    —Made excess contributions to your IRA or MSA;

    —Were born before July 1, 1939, and you did not take the minimum required distribution from your qualified retirement plan; —Received a distribution in the excess of $160,000 from a qualified retirement plan; or

    —Will owe social security and Medicare tax on tips you did not report to your employer.

  • Will you owe uncollected social security and Medicare or railroad retirement (RRTA), or tax on tips you reported to your employer?
  • Will you be subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)? (The tax law gives special treatment to some kinds of income and allows special deductions and credit for some kinds of expenses.)
  • Will you owe a recapture tax?
  • Are you a church employee with income in wages of $108.28 or more from a church or qualified church-controlled organization that is exempt from employer social security or Medicare taxes?


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