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File a 2019 Income Tax Return or Not

Do I Have to File

Use the FILEucator tool below to get your personal to e-File or not to file answer quickly and accurately. Even if you are not required to file, find points below on why you still might want to file. Your filing requirements to prepare and eFile a 2019 federal income tax return - by October 15, 2020 - depends on the following factors: Filing Status, Taxable Income, and your Dependency Status.

Return Case Study: Let's say a single person without a qualified child(ren) had a total of $11,200 taxable income in 2019 and was born in 1993. Since the standard deduction for a single person in 2019 is $12,200 it's easy to assume not to file a tax return as it would result in a zero tax refund and zero taxes owed. Not so! The tax app would automatically apply the Earned Income Tax Credit - EITC - (for all eligible ages between 25 and 65, and regardless of age, if you have one or more qualified dependents or children) and a tax return would result in a tax refund of $332 as anybody born before 1995 is eligible for the EITC at certain income levels. Plus, eligible refundable tax credits might reduce the tax liability and/or increase the tax refund.  Over 65 with Social Security Income?

Tax Tip: File a Tax Return or Tax Extension on time if you owe taxes, even if you can't pay the taxes on time. Keep in mind that the not filing on time Late Penalties are considerably higher than the not paying taxes on time Penalties.

We spare you the time and effort of researching whether you have to file a tax return or not, simply use the free and easy FILEucator Calculator below to find out if you are required to file a return or not. Just click and answer a few questions and you will know. Even if you're not required to file a 2019 return, there are reasons you may want to e-file a tax return.

Do I need to file a Tax Return?


Should You File a Tax Year 2019 Tax Return?

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Select Your Filing Status

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If you wish to read more about this, please review the sections below to find out if you are required to file a 2019 tax return in 2020:

Minimum Income Tax Return Filing Requirements

The minimum income required to e-file or file a tax return for Tax Year 2019 depends on your income, age, and filing status during the tax year. The minimum income levels for the various filing statuses are listed in the table below. If you earned below the minimum income for your filing status, you may not be required to file a Federal Tax Return. However, there are reasons why you may still want to file.

Filing Status
Minimum W-2 Income Requirement
Minimum Self-Employment Income Requirement
Under 65
65 or older
Head of Household
Under 65
Head of Household
65 or older
Married Filing Jointly
Under 65 (both spouses)
Married Filing Jointly
65 or older (one spouse)
Married Filing Jointly
65 or older (both spouses)
Married Filing Separately
Any age
Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Children
Under 65
Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Children
65 or older

Learn more about selecting a filing status.

Find out what what income is taxable.

Other Reasons to File a 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.

Tax Return Filing Requirements for Dependents

If you are a dependent on somebodies tax return and do not know whether or not to file a tax return, review the minimum income requirements and learn how to file a tax return as a dependent. Be aware that if you are under age 16 and have never filed a tax return, you cannot yet e-file your first year. You can prepare your 2019 return on, print it, and mail it to the IRS to file it. However, you will be able to e-file your return the following year.

Reasons You May Want to File a Tax Return

There are several reasons why you may want to file or e-File a 2019 tax return even if you do not meet the minimum income requirements:

Taxable vs. Nontaxable Income

Whether or not you are required to file a tax return depends on the type(s) of income that you have. There are many kinds of taxable income, as well as many types of non-taxable income. Your gross income generally includes income from all sources, in whatever form it takes. Below are examples of taxable and non-taxable income you may need to consider.

Examples of Taxable Income

  • Wages and salaries
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Canceled/forgiven debt
  • Self-employment income
  • Comprehensive list of taxable 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)
  • Comprehensive list of non-taxable or tax-free income

Find out if you are required to file previous Tax Year tax return(s).



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