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How Much Money do You have to Make to File Taxes if You Are Single or if You Are Married

written by: Tim Plaehn•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 3/31/2011

Not sure how much money you have to make to be required to file income taxes? The answer has many facets, but read on and find out whether you need to file or not.

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    Income Tax Season

    If you have not made a lot of money in 2010 you may be wondering how much money do you have to make to file taxes? Even if no income tax is owed, the Internal Revenue Service dictates who must file a tax return. The IRS provides several pages on their website outlining the rules of who must file. Here the rules will be put in an easy to understand form.

    First, if you had income taxes withheld from your paycheck or pension check, you have to file income taxes to get a tax return. The government already has your tax money, so file your taxes and get some or all of the withheld money back. This article will give you an overview of the income tax system.

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    Income Limits by Filing Status

    If you are under the age of 65, here are the income limits above which you must file income taxes:

    • Single: $9,350
    • Married Filing Jointly: $18,700
    • Married Filing Separately: $3,650
    • Head of Household: $12,000
    • Qualifying Widow(er): $15,050

    If you are over age 65, the income limits for tax filing are higher in most cases:

    • Single: $10,750
    • Married Filing Jointly: $20,900, if one spouse is under age 65 the filing limit is $19,800
    • Married Filing Separately: $3,650
    • Head of Household: $13,400
    • Qualifying Widow(er): $16,150

    If someone else claims you has a dependent, you have different limit for filing a tax return. If your unearned income -- interest and dividends -- is above $950 or your earned income -- wages or salary -- is above $5,700. If you have both earned and unearned income you must file taxes if the total is greater than $950 or earned income is greater than $600 and unearned income is greater than $300.

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    Special Cases for Filing Taxes

    The IRS has a list of circumstances where a tax return must be filed. If any of these criteria are met, you must complete and send in a tax return. Here is a list of the most common possibilities if you do not have income level above those listed in the previous section.

    • Self-employment income greater than $400.
    • Wages of $108.28 or more from a church that is exempt from paying Social Security as an employer.
    • Social Security and Medicare taxes are owed on tips received.
    • During the year you received Earned Income Credit from your employer.
    • You owe tax on an IRA or other tax-deferred program. This would be a special tax if you took an early distribution or made excess contributions.

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    Recap on Filing Taxes

    Income Tax For most people the requirement to file income taxes will be driven by whether they had taxes withheld at work or exceed the income limits outlined in Section 2. If you are self-employed or work for a church, plan on filing income taxes. If you think you are covered by one of the other reasons to file, call the IRS at 800-829-1040.

    If you must file your taxes check into filing the simplified 1040EZ tax return.

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    Resources

    IRS.gov: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96623,00.html

    Photo by alan cleaver 2000 on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution