Do I Need to File Taxes?

woman typing on laptop

That’s a great question. Most individuals need to file taxes if they are citizens or residents of the U.S., but there are minimums for gross income that do apply.

Thresholds for Filing Taxes

A threshold is the minimum amount of gross income you need to make before having to file taxes, and those thresholds depend on your filing status:

  1. As of 2023, if your filing status is single and your income is under $13,850, you may not have to file a federal income tax return.
  2. If you’re married filing jointly or a qualifying survivor spouse and gross income is under $27,700, you may not have to file either.
  3. Married filing separately? You’re out of luck. An income of just $5 means you have to file taxes.
  4. If you file as head of household, then $20,800 is the minimum income you need to file.
  5. Self-employed? You’ll have to file if your net earnings are over $400.
  6. And if you’re over 65, those minimums are even higher unless you’re married filing separately.
  7. Don’t forget dependents. If they have earned income, they many need to file too.

**These thresholds can change every year. Please check for updated tables.

Why You May Want to File Anyway

So, you’re below the minimum requirement and are ready to walk away from that tax form. Not so fast! There may actually be a benefit to filing your taxes regardless of your income.

Withholding: If you’re under the threshold but did work during the year and taxes were withheld from your paycheck, you could get that money back by filing a return and getting your refund. The same thing applies if you paid estimated taxes throughout the year.

Credits: You may still qualify for credits, such as the earned income credit or certain child credits, which could result in a refund and money in your pocket.

What about California State Taxes?

If you’re filing a federal tax return and you live in California, then you should probably file a California tax return as well. The income thresholds are different, but the potential benefits of a refund are the same.

Still not sure if you need to file your taxes? Reach out and we’ll help you figure it out.

**Please keep in mind: Tax laws and rates change often, and these lists are not exhaustive. Always contact a tax preparer for the most up-to-date information.