Do I Need To File A Return? Should I Anyway?

Generally, you need to file a return if your income, subject to tax, exceeds the sum of your standard deduction (including additional deductions for age 65+ or blindness) and any personal exemption you can claim.

For tax year 2003, assuming you are NOT being claimed by anyone as a dependent, and that you are neither blind nor over age 65 (nor is your spouse, if married), your filing requirement would be:

Single  
$ 7,800
Head of Household  
$ 10,050
Married/Joint  
$ 15,600
Married/Separate  
$ 3,050
Qualifying widow(er)     
$ 12,550

Filing Requirements for Dependents

If your parents (or someone else) can claim you as a dependent, and any of the situations below apply to you, you must file a return. In this table, earned income includes salaries, wages, tips, and professional fees. It also includes taxable scholarship and fellowship grants. Unearned income includes investment-type income such as interest, dividends, and capital gains. It also includes unemployment compensation, taxable social security benefits, pensions, annuities, and distributions of unearned income from a trust. Gross income is the total of your earned and unearned income.

Caution: If your gross income was $3,050 or more, you generally cannot be claimed as a dependent unless you were under age 19 or a full-time student under age 24.

Single dependents — Were you either age 65 or older or blind?

o No. You must file a return if any of the following apply.
· Your unearned income was more than $750.
· Your earned income was more than $4,750.
· Your gross income was more than the larger of:
  1) $750, or
  2) Your earned income (up to $4,500) plus $250.

o Yes. You must file a return if any of the following apply.
· Your earned income was more than $5,900 ($7,050 if 65 or older and blind).
· Your unearned income was more than $1,900 ($3,050 if 65 or older and blind).
· Your gross income was more than:
  1) The larger of $750, or your earned income (up to $4,500) plus $250, plus
  2) $1,150 ($2,300 if 65 or older and blind).

Married dependents — Were you either age 65 or older or blind?

o No. You must file a return if any of the following apply.
· Your gross income was at least $5 and your spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions.
· Your earned income was more than $4,750.
· Your unearned income was more than $750.
· Your gross income was more than the larger of:
  1) $750, or
  2) Your earned income (up to $4,500) plus $250.

o Yes. You must file a return if any of the following apply.
· Your gross income was at least $5 and your spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions.
· Your earned income was more than $5,700 ($6,650 if 65 or older and blind).
· Your unearned income was more than $1,700 ($2,650 if 65 or older and blind).
· Your gross income was more than:
  1) The larger of $750 or your earned income (up to $4,500) plus $250, plus
  2) $950 ($1,900 if 65 or older and blind).

WHEN SHOULD YOU FILE, EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE TO?

If you have had taxes withheld, which you are entitled to be refunded to you, or are entitled to the Earned Income Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit, you need to file a return in order to receive your refund.

 



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