Tip: For more in-depth information, consult the IRS' Do I Need to File a Tax Return? tool.
Do I need to file a 2014 tax return with the IRS?
If you have reported and unreported income that exceeds the IRS filing threshold in the table under Federal Filing Requirements below, you will need to file a tax return with the IRS. Determine if you need to file by adding up all income you receive from all sources, such as income on a W-2 or Form 1099s and from side jobs or freelancing.
If your income falls below the IRS filing threshold for your age and filing status, you don't need to file a 2014 federal tax return.
But even if you're not required to file, here are 3 good reasons why you may want to file anyway:
- To get a refund for any taxes withheld from your 2014 wages.
- To take advantage of the Earned Income Credit (EIC).
- To take advantage of any other refundable credits like the Additional Child Tax Credit or the American Opportunity college credit.
What if you don't need to file, you had no withholdings, and you don't qualify for any credits – should you file a return anyway to "prove" to the IRS that you had no taxable income?
We recommend that you don't. For starters, you'll get reject errors if you try to e-file a return that has zero income. And second, because the IRS already knows you either have no income or that your income was below the tax filing requirements. All you're doing is wasting paper and creating extra work for both of you.
If your gross income is less than the amount shown below, you're off the hook! You are not required to file a tax return with the IRS. But remember, if Federal taxes were withheld from your earnings, you'll want to file a tax return to get any withholdings back.
|Filing Status||Age at December 31, 2014||Gross Income|
|65 or older||$11,700|
|Married Filing Jointly||Under 65 (both)||$20,300|
|65 or older (both)||$22,700|
|Under 65 (one)||$21,500|
|Married Filing Separately||Any||$6,200|
|Head of Household||Under 65||$13,050|
|65 or older||$14,600|
|Qualifying Widow(er)||Under 65||$16,100|
|65 or older||$17,300|
- If you can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer, the income threshold for filing is generally lower than the chart above.
For instance, usually children and teens who work must file a tax return if they earn more than $6,200 a year, but it can be less in some situations. More filing requirements for dependents with either earned or unearned income can be found in IRS Pub 929, Tax Rules for Children and Dependents, Part 1–Rules for all Dependents.
- If you are self-employed and your net earnings (income minus expenses) are more than $400, you need to file and pay self-employment tax. (You won't receive credit toward Social Security benefits if you don’t report and pay this tax.)
- Special rules apply for dependent children who have investment income. To learn more, read The Kiddie Tax.
Many states require that you file a state tax return if you filed a federal return, whereas others require filing only if your income exceeds a certain level. Click your state for filing requirements (or to contact your state, if your state doesn't provide filing requirements online).
Important: State tax law – not your refund amount – determines whether you need to file your state return.
|Alabama – Kansas||Kentucky – North Carolina||North Dakota – Wyoming|
|Alabama (AL)||Kentucky (KY)||North Dakota (ND)|
|Alaska (AK) – No Income tax||Louisiana (LA)||Ohio (OH)|
|Arizona (AZ)||Maine (ME)||Oklahoma (OK)|
|Arkansas (AR)||Maryland (MD)||Oregon (OR)|
|California (CA)||Massachusetts (MA)||Pennsylvania (PA)|
|Colorado (CO)||Michigan (MI)||Rhode Island (RI)|
|Connecticut (CT)||Minnesota (MN)||South Carolina (SC)|
|Delaware (DE)||Mississippi (MS)||South Dakota (SD) – No Income tax|
|District of Columbia (DC)||Missouri (MO)||Tennessee (TN)|
|Florida (FL) – No Income tax||Montana (MT)||Texas (TX) – No Income tax|
|Georgia (GA)||Nebraska (NE)||Utah (UT)|
|Hawaii (HI)||Nevada (NV) – No Income tax||Vermont (VT)|
|Idaho (ID)||New Hampshire (NH)||Virginia (VA)|
|Illinois (IL)||New Jersey (NJ)||Washington (WA) – No Income tax|
|Indiana (IN)||New Mexico (NM)||West Virginia (WV)|
|Iowa (IA)||New York (NY)||Wisconsin (WI)|
|Kansas (KS)||North Carolina (NC)||Wyoming (WY) – No Income tax|