2013 Federal Income Tax Filing Requirements

The determination of whether you are required to file a federal individual income tax return is based on:

  • your Federal tax filing status;
  • your gross income;
  • whether you are claimed as a dependent on another individual's income tax return; and
  • whether you received a specific credit or owe a tax liability (see Additional Filing Requirements below).
General Filing Requirements when an individual is NOT claimed as a dependent on another individual's income tax return
Filing Status Gross Income1 is at least
Single $10,000
Married filing jointly $20,000
Married filing separately $3,900
Head of household $12,850
Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child $16,100

1Gross income generally means all income that you received in the form of money, goods, property, and services that is not exempt from tax, including any income from outside of the United States (even if you may exclude all or part of it).  Please note that certain social security benefits may be excluded from the definition of gross income.

For items of gross income generally pertaining to students, please refer to IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education, Chapter 1, Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants and Tuition Reductions and the IRS web page for students, Student's Page - Higher Education.

If you will be claimed as a dependent on another individual's tax return, please refer to the 2013 Federal Form 1040 Instructions, page 8 for filing requirements and worksheet.

In addition to the above guidelines, you must file a tax return if you meet other very specific criteria see 'Additional Filing Requirements' below for more information.

Additional Filing Requirements

In addition to the guidelines based on income, you must file a return if any of the following applies for 2013:

  • You owe recapture taxes or the alternative minimum tax;
  • You owe recapture of the first-time homebuyer's credit;
  • You owe taxes, such as social security or Medicare, on tips not reported to your employer or on wages you received from an employer who did not withhold these taxes;
  • You owe write in taxes such as social security, Medicare or RRTA tax on tips reported to your employer or on group term life insurance or additional tax on a health savings account;
  • You had net earnings from self employment of at least $400;
  • You had wages of $108.28 or more from a church or qualified church-controlled organization that is exempt from employer social security and Medicare taxes;
  • You owe aditional tax on a qualified plan, including an individual retirement account (IRA), or other tax favored account (Note: If you are filing a return only because you owe this tax, you can file Form 5329 by itself);
  • You owe household employment taxes (Note: If you are filing a return only because you owe this tax, you can file Schedule H by itself); or
  • You (or your spouse, if filing jointly) received HSA, Archer MSA or Medicare Advantage MSA distributions.

Note: Even if you are not required to file an individual income tax return, you should file a tax return to request a refund of any federal income tax withheld.  You should also file if you are eligible to claim any of the following credits: earned income credit, additional child tax credit, American opportunity credit, credit for federal tax on fuels, or the health coverage tax credit.