Taxes 101: Do You Meet the Income Requirements for 2018 Tax Returns?

Only those whose incomes exceed certain thresholds must file a federal income tax return. Five factors determine whether you must file a return and how much you can earn before you have to do so.

  1. What was your gross income for the year?
  2. Are you someone else’s dependent?
  3. What’s your filing status?
  4. How old are you?
  5. Are you blind?

The IRS defines gross income as “all income you receive in the form of money, goods, property, and services that is not exempt from tax.”


Filing Requirements by Income

If your income equals or exceeds the amounts shown in the chart below, you’ll have to file a tax return. These figures are updated by the IRS each year. These income thresholds pertain to the income you earned in 2018, which you must report when you file your tax return for the 2018 tax year in 2019.

Table 1. 2018 Filing Requirements for Independent Taxpayers
If your filing status is… And at the end of 2018 you were… Then you must file a return if your gross income was at least…
Single Under 65 $12,000
65 or older $13,600
Married filing jointly Under 65 (both spouses) $24,000
65 or older (one spouse) $25,300
65 or older (both spouses) $26,600
Married filing separately Any age $5
Head of household Under 65 $18,000
65 or older $19,600
Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child Under 65 $24,000
65 or older $25,300

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