Do You Have to File a 2018 Tax Return?
Whether or not you are required to file a 2018 federal income tax return depends on several factors:
Even if you're not required to file a 2018 return, there are reasons you may want to file a tax return.
Review the sections below to find out if you are required to file a 2018 tax return:
Minimum Income Tax Return Filing Requirements
The minimum income required to efile or file a tax return for Tax Year 2018 depends on your income, age, and filing status. 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.
||Minimum W-2 Income Requirement
||Minimum Self-Employment Income Requirement
|65 or older
|Head of Household
|65 or older
|Married Filing Jointly
||Under 65 (both spouses)
|65 or older (one spouse)
|65 or older (both spouses)
|Married Filing Separately
|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 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 efile your first year. You can prepare your 2018 return on efile.com, print it, and mail it to the IRS to file it. However, you will be able to efile 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 efile a 2018 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
Learn more about 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)
Learn more about non-taxable income
How to Know Whether or Not You Need to File a Previous Year Tax Return