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how much money do you have to make to file taxes
11 May 2020

How Much Money Do You Have to Make to File Taxes?

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April 15 is the day that looms in every American’s mind: it’s the day they have to fork over part of their income to the United States government. This is otherwise known as the day you’ll need to pay taxes.

But not everyone pays taxes, for an abundance of reasons, one of which is because they don’t make enough money to do so. So, how much money do you have to make to file taxes?

In this blog post, we’ll answer that question, and a few more, in an effort to help you understand the system just a little bit better.

Read on for more information all about paying your dues to Uncle Sam.

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How Old Do You Have to Be to File Taxes?

We should address how old you have to be to file taxes before we discuss how much you have to make to file taxes.

How old you have to be to file taxes depends on your status as either a dependent or an independent filer. If you are over the age of 19 by the end of the tax year, you need to file taxes.

As with anything, there are exceptions to this. If your income does not meet the minimum threshold, then you do not need to file.

Additionally, if someone can claim you as a dependent, you do not need to file taxes.

A dependent is someone who is either under the age of 19 and living with their parents or receiving support from them or someone under the age of 24. If you’re claimed as a dependent until the age of 24, you must be in school full-time.

To be claimed as a dependent, you must live with your parents for a good portion of the year (or go away to college but your parents’ or guardians’ address is your permanent one). You must also rely on your parents or guardians for at least half of your income.

So, if you have a part-time job at college and it doesn’t meet the minimum threshold and your parents pay for at least half of your room, board and other necessities, you do not have to file.

Those who are totally or permanently disabled and rely on a relative as a caretaker do not need to file taxes.

Okay, So How Much Money Do You Have to Make to File Taxes If You’re Single?

Now that we’ve established how old you need to be to pay taxes, let’s talk about how much money you need to make to pay them.

The threshold for paying taxes depends on your filing status, so in this section, we’ll discuss how much you need to make if you’re filing as a single person.

If you’re under the age of 65, you need to make $12,200 per year to file. Over the age of 65, you’ll need to make $13,850 in a year.

Taxes For the Married Who are Filing Jointly

If you’re married and filing your taxes jointly, you need to make $24,400 if both spouses filing are over the age of 65. If one spouse is under the age of 65 and one is over the age of 65, you’ll need to make $25,700 per year.

If both spouses are over the age of 65, you’ll need to make $27,000 to file.

For spouses who are married but choose to file separately, you’ll need to earn at least $5 each per year.

Tax Minimums for the Head of Household

If you’re a head of household, you must earn $18,350 in order to file your taxes. If you’re older than the age of 65, you’ll need to make a minimum of $20,000.

Minimum Income for a Widow or Widower Who Has a Dependent Child

If you’re a window or widower who has a dependent child, or a disabled dependent, you’ll need to make a minimum of $24,400 per year if you’re under the age of 65.

For those over the age of 65, they’ll need to make a minimum of $25,700.

Other Minimums You’ll Need to Consider

While the minimums you need to file taxes listed above are up-to-date, you’ll also need to be aware of the minimum taxes you need to pay as a self-employed person.

If any of your income comes from self-employment, as in is not via a W-2, you’ll need to file taxes if you earn just $400 in a year. You’ll need to file a 1040, or Schedule SE. You will also need to file estimated taxes each quarter.

Self-employed income is subject to 15.3% tax, but you can write off things such as equipment and other investments into your business or project.

You’ll need to file self-employment tax if you’re making $400 per year on a side hustle or a business you run, even if you’re a minor or can be claimed as a dependent. You may also need to file if you have a job where you earn tips but are still classified as a dependent. You should ask your employer about this if you are unsure if you need to file taxes. He or she will be able to help guide you.

Filing Taxes

So, how much money do you have to make to file taxes? The answer is that it depends greatly on a variety of factors. This includes your income level, your dependent status and how you’re earning your income.

Figuring out the tax system can be confusing, but it’s best if you get a handle on it early. You don’t want to be caught out owing the IRS back taxes.

For more information about managing money, visit our personal finance learning center.