Who Must File the 1040
Whether an individual must file a return is mostly determined by the tax payer’s filing status and the amount of money earned during the tax year. For example, a single tax payer who is under 65 years of age and made less than $9,350 for the 2010 tax year is not required to file a return. This is due to the fact that the standard deduction and personal exemption add up to $9,350. Subtracting this from the amount made during the year results in $0.00 or negative taxable income. However, many people, even if they do not have any residual taxable income after deductions and exemptions, file a return to be able to claim carrybacks and carryforwards on income earned in previous and future tax years. This is only possible under certain conditions, especially for owners of businesses and other situations.
Married couples both under 65 years of age filing jointly must file a return if their combined gross income exceeds $18,700. Other amounts determining the need for file a return are different for people who are married but filing separately, claiming head of household status, or who qualify for widow/widower status with dependents.
If someone can claim you as a dependent, your tax status is different than if this were not the case. Resident aliens are required to file a return as a citizen but these filers may qualify for tax treaty benefits. Nonresident aliens and dual-status aliens may be required to file a return if they were married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien during the tax year or if they elected to be taxed as a resident alien.