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How to Determine if You Have to File an Income Tax Return

Standard Limits for 2000

1.

Verify that you are not a dependent of anyone. Different limits apply to dependents. If you are a dependent, see "eHow to Determine if a Dependent Has to File a Tax Return."

2.

Determine that your gross income was less than $7,200 if filing Single. Add $1,100 if aged 65 or over.

3.

Determine that your gross income was less than $9,250 if filing Head of Household. Add $1,100 if aged 65 or over.

4.

Determine that your gross income was less than $12,950 if filing Married Filing Jointly. Add $850 for each spouse aged 65 or over.

5.

Determine that your gross income was less than $3,675 if filing Married Filing Separately. (Don't add any amount if aged 65 or over.)

6.

Determine that your gross income was less than $10,150 if filing Qualifying Widow(er). Add $850 if aged 65 or over.

Special Circumstances

1.

Make sure you do not have $400 or more from self-employment.

2.

Make sure you do not have wages of $108.25 or more from a religious organization that is exempt from employer Social Security taxes.

3.

Determine that you don't have a taxable or penalizable withdrawal from an individual retirement account, other qualified retirement account, or medical savings account.

4.

Determine that you don't have unpaid Social Security and Medicare taxes on tips or on group term-life insurance.

5.

Make sure you did not receive advanced earned income credit as shown in Box 9 of your W-2.

6.

Make sure you are not a non-resident alien with gross income of $2,800 or more.

7.

Make sure your tax year was not less than 12 months. If so, you have to file unless your gross income was $2,800 or less.

8.

Determine that you do not have any recapture tax from an investment credit, low-income housing credit, Indian employment credit, qualified electric vehicle credit or from the sale of a home purchased with a federally subsidized mortgage.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you fit into any of these special circumstances, you will have to file a federal tax return for 2000.
  • Make sure to add in the total of all stock sales during the tax year to your other income when determining if you need to file. The IRS receives only sales information - not purchase information - and will assume it is all profit unless you report otherwise on a tax return.
  • Some of your Social Security benefits could be taxable and, therefore, add to gross income depending upon your filing status and income level. Tax-exempt interest and foreign-earned income can affect the taxability of Social Security benefits.


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