Do I Need to File a 2015 Tax Return?

Whether or not you are required to file a 2015 tax return is based on these factors: 

Use the Free FILucator tool below to find out if you need to file a 2015 tax return: 

What is Gross Income?

Your gross income generally includes taxable and non-taxable income. Below are examples of taxable income and non-taxable income you may need to consider when deciding whether or not you have to file a 2015 return:  

Examples of Taxable Income

  • Wages and salaries
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Canceled/forgiven debt
  • Self-employment income

Examples of Non-Taxable Income

  • Child support
  • Insurance proceeds (accident, casualty, health, life)
  • Meals and lodging for the convenience of employer
  • Veterans’ benefits
  • Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)

What Are the Minimum Income Requirements to File a 2015 Federal Income Tax Return?

The minimum income required to file a 2015 tax return depends on your income, age, and filing status. The minimum income levels based on filing status and age are listed in the table below: 

Filing Status Age Minimum W-2 Income Requirement Minimum Self-Employment Income Requirement
Single Under 65 $10,300 $400
65 or older $11,850 $400
Head of Household Under 65 $13,250 $400
65 or older $14,800 $400
Married Filing Jointly Under 65 (both spouses) $20,600 $400
65 or older (one spouse) $21,850 $400
65 or older (both spouses) $23,100 $400
Married Filing Separately Any age $4,000 $400
Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Children Under 65 $16,600 $400
65 or older $17,850 $400

What If My Earned Income is Below the Minimum Income for My Filing Status and Age?

You may not be required to file a federal tax return. However, we recommend that you read on for other reasons why you may still want to file a return. 

What Are Other Reasons Why I May Be Required to File a 2015 Tax Return?

Regardless of your gross income, you are generally required to file an income tax return if any of the following are true:

  • You had net self-employment income of $400 or more
  • You had unemployment income
  • You owe Alternative Minimum Tax
  • You owe household employment taxes
  • You owe additional taxes on a retirement plan (an individual retirement arrangement (IRA) or other tax-favored account) or health savings account
  • You must repay the 2008 Homebuyer Credit (or any other recapture taxes)
  • You owe Social Security and Medicare taxes on unreported tip income
  • You earned $108.28 or more from a tax-exempt church or church-controlled organization
  • You received distributions from an MSA or Health Savings Account
  • You received an advance payment on the Premium Tax Credit.

Am I Required to File a 2015 Return If I Am a Dependent?

Even if you are claimed on another taxpayer's return, you may still be required to file your own income tax return The requirements vary by filing status, age, and minimum income, which are listed below: 

Marriage Status Age Minimum Income Requirement Minimum Self-Employment Income Requirement
Single Under 65 (and not blind) More than $6,300 earned (or more than $1,050 unearned*) $400
65 or older OR blind More than $7,850 earned (or more than $2,600 unearned) $400
65 or older AND blind More than $9,400 earned (or more than $4,150 unearned) $400
Married** Under 65 (and not blind) More than $6,300 earned (or more than $1,050 unearned) $400
65 or older OR blind More than $7,550 earned (or more than $2,230 unearned) $400
65 or older AND blind More than $8,800 earned (or more than $3,550 unearned) $400

Why May I Want to File a 2015 Tax Return?

There are several reasons why you may want to file or efile a tax return even if you do not meet the minimum income requirements:

  • If you had taxes withheld from your pay, you must file a tax return to receive a tax refund.
  • If you qualify, you must file a return to receive the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • If you are claiming education credits, you must file to be refunded the American Opportunity Credit.
  • If you have a qualifying child but owe no tax, you can file to be refunded the Additional Child Tax Credit.
  • If you qualify, you must file to claim the refundable Health Coverage Tax Credit.
  • If you adopted a qualifying child, you must file to claim the Adoption Tax Credit.
  • If you overpaid estimated tax or applied a prior year overpayment to this year, you must file to receive the refund.

How Do I Prepare and File a 2015 Tax Return? 

Since the IRS only accepts efiled tax returns for the current Tax Year, you will need to prepare your 2015 return on paper and mail it to the IRS. Follow these instructions on how to file your 2015 tax return: 

  1. Find and download 2015 tax forms.
  2. Complete the form(s) on Adobe Reader.
  3. Print it out and sign it at the bottom of page 2. Attach any tax documents (i.e. W-2, 1099-MISC, etc) to your return. 
  4. Mail your return to the IRS address listed on your return. 

What If I Need to Know Whether or Not I'm Required to File a 2016 Tax Return?

Find out if you need to file a 2016 tax return