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Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

Do I Have to File Income Tax Returns This Year?

What are the IRS income tax filing requirements this tax season? My income decreased in 2022 and I am wondering if I need to file a tax return this year.

The requirement to file a federal income tax return this year depends on how much you earned last year, the source of the income, your age and filing status.

Here is a rundown of the 2022 tax season's IRS tax filing requirement thresholds. If your 2022 gross income – which includes all taxable income, not counting your Social Security benefits unless you are married and filing separately – was below the threshold for your filing status and age, you may not have to file. If it is over, you are required to file.

Single: $12,950 ($14,700 if you are 65 or older by January 1, 2022).
Married filing jointly: $25,900 ($27,300 if one spouse is 65 or older; or $28,700 if you are both over 65).
Married filing separately: Minimum income of $5 at any age.
Head of household: $19,400 ($21,150 if 65 or older).
Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child: $25,900 ($27,300 if 65 or older).

To get a detailed breakdown on federal filing requirements or for information on taxable and nontaxable income, call the IRS at 800-829-3676 and ask for a free copy of the "1040 and 1040-SR Instructions for Tax Year 2022." These instructions can also be found online at IRS.gov.

Check Here Too


Be aware of other financial situations that will require you to file a tax return, even if your gross income falls below the IRS filing requirements. For example, if you earned more than $400 from self-employment in 2022, owe any special taxes like an alternative minimum tax or get premium tax credits due to enrollment in a Health Insurance Marketplace plan, you will need to file.

You will also need to file if one-half of your Social Security benefits plus your other gross income and any tax-exempt interest exceeds $25,000. This threshold amount rises to $32,000 if you are married and filing jointly.

The IRS offers an online tax tool that asks a series of questions to help you determine if you are required to file or if you should file because you may be owed a refund. It takes less than 15 minutes to complete. You can access this tool at IRS.gov/Help/ITA. Click on "Do I Need to File a Tax Return?" and it will walk you through an online review. You can also get assistance over the phone by calling the IRS helpline at 800-829-1040.

Check Your State


Even if you are not required to file a federal tax return this year, do not assume that you are also excused from filing state income taxes. The rules for your state may be different. Check the tax filing requirements for your state to determine if you should file.

Tax Preparation Help


If your 2022 adjusted gross income was below $73,000, you may receive free filing help through the IRS at IRS.gov/FreeFile.

For middle and low-income taxpayers who are age 60 and older, contact the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (or TCE) program for free tax preparation and counseling. Call 800-906-9887 or visit IRS.treasury.gov/freetaxprep to locate services near you. You may also use an online search engine to find nonprofits that provide tax return preparation assistance free of charge for qualified individuals.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published February 17, 2023

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