Who Needs to File a 2012 Tax Return?

For the 2012 tax year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) expects to receive over 230 million income tax returns.  But the IRS will receive many income tax returns from people who do not need to file.

This fact may not be surprising, since the federal income tax code is generally considered to be long and confusing.  So do you need to file a tax return?

Following are a few simple points you can consider to help determine if you are required to (or if you still should) file a 2012 federal income tax return.

Basic Reasons Requiring the Filing of a Tax Return

You can determine if you must file a 2012 tax return based on your filing status, age, and gross income.  Given that information, use the table below to find the line that applies to your situation:

If your filing status is:

Your age on January 1, 2013, is:

And your gross income is at least:

Single Under 65 $9,750
Single Over 65 $11,200
Head of Household Under 65 $12,500
Head of Household Over 65 $13,950
Married Filing Jointly Under 65 for both spouses $19,500
Married Filing Jointly Over 65 for one spouse $20,650
Married Filing Jointly Over 65 for both spouses $21,800
Married Filing Separately Any age $3,800
Qualifying Widow(we) with Dependent Child Under 65 $15,700
Qualifying Widow(we) with Dependent Child Over 65 $16,850

If your 2012 gross income exceeds the amount listed above for your filing status and age, you must file a 2012 tax return by April 15, 2013.

The IRS defines gross income as all income you receive, whether money, goods, or services, that are not tax exempt.  Gross income includes income earned outside of the United States.

Filing to Obtain a Refund

Even if you are not required to file a tax return for 2012 because you had no income or you income falls below the threshold for your filing status, you may still want to file a return to get a refund due to you.  Some of the reasons you may be due a refund include the following:

  • You had taxes withheld from your paycheck
  • You are due an Earned Income Tax Credit
  • You were self employed and earned more than $400
  • You sold your home
  • You are due an additional Child Tax Credit
  • You are owed an American Opportunity Credit
  • You qualify for the Health Coverage Tax Credit

Remember the information above is general in nature and should not be considered legal advice.

Obtaining Helping Filing Your 2012 Federal Income Tax Return

If you are not sure if you need to file a federal income tax return, you should speak with a tax attorney.  A tax attorney will know federal income tax laws and can determine for certain if you need to file a return.  And by working with an attorney, it means that anything you share with them is completely confidential.

By completing the form at the bottom of this page, a tax attorney will get in touch with you to answer all your questions and help you file your tax return.  The initial conversation is free of charge and does not obligate you to anything further.  Therefore, take the first step to getting the income tax help you need today.

by Mark Johnston

Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.