What Is The Minimum Income To File Taxes?

The information in this article is up to date for tax year 2023 (returns filed in 2024).

Millions of Americans pay taxes, but at what point is someone legally required to file a tax return? Factors like age, income, and filing status determine if you have to file taxes each year. Keep reading this article to find out if your circumstances require you to file a tax return this year.  

What is the minimum income to file taxes in 2024? 

In 2024, the income and age requirements for single filers are as follows:  

Filing Status Age at the end of 2023Minimum gross income to file taxes: 
Single Under 65 
Head of Household (HOH) Under 65 
Married Filing Jointly Under 65 (both spouses)  
65+ (one spouse)  
65+ (both spouses)  
Married Filing Separately Any age $5 
Qualified Widow(er) Under 65 

What are the IRS age requirements to file taxes? 

The IRS doesn’t have a set age requirement for paying taxes – instead, it’s more dependent on income. 

While it’s doubtful kids will have to pay taxes if they are being claimed as dependents, there may be special circumstances in which dependents meet the requirements to pay taxes. 

For more information on claiming a dependent, check out Who Can I Claim as a Dependent? 

If you’re being claimed as a dependent, you might have to file taxes if your income falls within the following thresholds: 

Requirements for single dependents  

  Under age 65  65+  65+ and blind  
If your unearned income was more than:   $1,250   $3,100   $4,950  
If your earned income was more than:   $13,850    $15,700   $17,550  
If your gross income was more than the larger of the following options:   $1,250 or your earned income (up to $13,450), plus $400    $3,100 or your earned income (up to $13,450), plus $2,250   $4,950 or your earned income (up to $13,450), plus $4,100  

Requirements for married dependents 

  Under age 65  65+  65+ and blind  
If your unearned income was more than:   $1,250   $2,750   $4,250  
If your earned income was more than:   $13,850    $15,350   $16,850  
If your gross income was more than the larger of the following options:   $1,250 or your earned income (up to $13,450), plus $400    $2,750 or your earned income (up to $13,450), plus $1,900   $4,250 or your earned income (up to $13,450), plus $3,400  

Information You’ll Need 

Now that you have the income requirements, you’ll need a few things to help you determine if you should file a tax return. 

Here’s what you need on hand:  

  • Your W-2 (or 1099-NEC if you’re self-employed) 
  • Bank statements 
  • Dependent information 
  • Medical expenses 
  • and more! 

Read our Tax Prep Checklist for an in-depth list of what you’ll need when you file. 

Do you have to file taxes? 

If you are required to file taxes, there are some low-cost options to get your taxes done quickly and accurately.  

TaxSlayer Simply Free makes it easy to get the essential forms filed. One federal return is included, plus free phone and email support. If you don’t qualify for Simply Free, you can still file affordably with our best value, all tax situations covered option – TaxSlayer Classic. Get started for free today! 

Is there a penalty for not filing taxes? 

It depends on your circumstances, but generally, you will be penalized if you choose not to file a tax return.  

If you don’t file your taxes on time and didn’t file an extension before Tax Day, you’ll likely be issued a Failure to File Penalty. This amounts to 5% of your unpaid tax liability for each month you’re late, adding up to 25% of your total unpaid tax balance. 

If you’re due a tax refund, you will not be penalized for neglecting to file, but you will miss out on the chance of claiming that refund if you don’t file within three years of the return due date. 

Are you unsure if you’ll face a filing penalty? Read 8 Facts About Late Filing and Late Payment Penalties. 

TaxSlayer makes it convenient to file returns up to three years past the original deadline without having to search online for the forms you need. Meaning in 2024, you can file prior-year returns for 2022, 2021, and 2020.  

Frequently Asked Questions About Tax Filing Requirements 

When do you start paying taxes on income? 

Generally, you’d start paying taxes on your income when you meet the age and income requirements. See the charts above to determine if you are required to file. 

Is Social Security considered income? 

Social Security will only be classified as income if it falls within the filing threshold for your age and filing status.  

As of the 2023 tax season, you must pay 85% of your Social Security benefits if your combined income as an individual filer exceeds $34,000. If you file a joint return, you and your spouse’s combined income is more than $44,000.  

Who is exempt from paying federal income tax? 

You are exempt from paying federal income taxes if you made less than the required income for your filing status. 

Can I skip a year filing taxes? 

Technically, no – the IRS will always know if you didn’t pay your taxes. If you fail to file on time, you could be subject to penalties for unpaid taxes. Even if you are due a refund, you are expected to file a tax return, plus it’s the only way to claim your refund. 

How does the IRS find out about unreported income? 

The IRS has a system that tracks if and how taxpayers have filed their tax returns. If you didn’t pay (or underpaid), you will be flagged in the system and the IRS will contact you. 

Can I file taxes if I only worked for 1 month? 

It depends on your employment situation. If you left a job you worked for most of the past year and made the minimum required income to file for your status, you may have to pay taxes.  

Depending on how long you worked and your income during the time of employment, you may want to consider part-year withholding. Learn more  

How long do you have to work at a job to claim taxes? 

There’s no set time limit for you to work at a job and start claiming taxes. It all has to do with your income during the term of your employment.  

For example, if you started a new job towards the end of last year, then you may not meet the filing income requirements for your filing status. Regardless of timing, if you meet the income requirements to file for your filing status, you must file a return. 

What if I don’t qualify to file for free? 

With Simply Free, you can file one federal tax return at no cost to you. If you don’t qualify, you can still file affordably with TaxSlayer. TaxSlayer Classic covers all tax situations – you get all the forms, credits, and deductions for less than the other guys. 

How do I get my tax refund? 

You have several options, like a mailed check or direct deposit, to receive your tax refund. The IRS makes it clear that e-filing with direct deposit as your refund method is the fastest option. You can track your refund here

For more information, read: 2024 Refund Schedule: How Long Do I Have to Wait Until I Get My Tax Refund? 

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