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Do You Need to File a Federal Income Tax Return?

Many people will file a 2013 Federal income tax return even though the income on the return was below the filing requirement. The questions below will help you determine if you need to file a Federal Income Tax return or if you need to stop your withholding so you will not have to file an unnecessary return in the future.

The Internal Revenue Service is providing this information as a part of our customer service and outreach efforts to Reduce Taxpayer Burden and Processing Costs. Changing your withholding and/or not filing Unnecessary Returns will save both you and the government time and money.

Even if you do not have to file a return, you should file one to get a refund of any Federal Income Tax withheld.

To determine if you need to file a Federal Income Tax return for 2013 answer the following questions:

Occasionally, individuals have one-time or infrequent financial transactions that may require them to file a Federal Income Tax return. Do any of the following examples apply to you?

  • Did you have Federal taxes withheld from your pension and wages for this tax year and wish to get a refund back?
  • Are you entitled to the Earned Income Tax Credit or did you receive Advance Earned Income Credit for this tax year?
  • Were you self-employed with earnings of more than $400.00?
  • Did you sell your home?
  • Will you owe any special tax on a qualified retirement plan (including an individual retirement account (IRA) or medical savings account (MSA)? You may owe tax if you:
    • Received an early distribution from a qualified plan
    • Made excess contributions to your IRA or MSA
    • Were born before July 1, 1942, and you did not take the minimum required distribution from your qualified retirement plan.
    • Received a distribution in the excess of $160,000 from a qualified retirement plan.
  • Will you owe social security and Medicare tax on tips you did not report to your employer?
  • Will you owe uncollected social security and Medicare or Railroad retirement (RRTA) tax on tips you reported to your employer?
  • Will you be subject to Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)? (The tax law gives special treatment to some kinds of income and allows special deductions and credit for some kinds of expenses.)
  • Will you owe recapture tax?
  • Are you a church employee with income in wages of $108.28 or more from a church or qualified church-controlled organization that is exempt from employer social security or Medicare taxes?

Do one or more of the preceding situations apply to your filing requirements?

Yes   No

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 18-Dec-2013