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Filing Requirements

Who must file a tax return?

A taxpayer must file a federal income tax return if he or she:

  • is a US citizen, US resident or resident of Puerto Rico, alien residing in the US for the entire tax year and
  • meets the filing requirements

There are different filing requirements for:

  • dependents
  • taxpayers who can be claimed as dependents
  • taxpayers who owe certain taxes in addition to income taxes
  • nonresident aliens and dual status aliens
What are the filing requirements for taxpayers?

For most taxpayers, tax filing requirements are determined by three factors:

  1. Filing Status (below)
  2. Age (below)

Tax filing status

A taxpayer's filing status depends on his or her family situation. The filing status is determined on the last day of the tax year.


If a taxpayer is 65 or older on the last day of the tax year, his or her gross income for filing requirement can be higher than for other taxpayers. A taxpayer is considered age 65 of the day before his or her 65th birthday. That means if his or her birthday was on January 1, 2007, then he or she is considered to be 65 in 2006 all year.

When should I file my tax return even if I am not required to file?

If a taxpayer is not required by the IRS to file his or her tax return, he or she may want to file anyway to get money back if he or she:

  • had income tax withheld from his or her pay
  • qualifies for earned income credit (EIC)
  • qualifies for the additional child tax credit
  • qualifies for the health coverage tax credit



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