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Category : > Income Tax Filing Across The USA
Posted On : Fri Nov 26th,2010




You must file a federal income tax return if you are a citizen or resident of the United States or a resident of Puerto Rico and you meet the filing requirements for any of the following categories that apply to you.

1. Individuals-In General
2. Dependents
3. Children under age 18
4. Self-employed Persons
5. Aliens

The filing requirements apply even if you do not owe tax.

1. Individuals—In General:

If you are a U.S. citizen or resident, you must file a return depends on three factors:
  • Your gross income,
  • Your filing status, and
  • Your age.

Gross income.  This includes all income you receive in the form of money, goods, property, and services that is not exempt from tax.

Filing status.  Your filing status depends on whether you are single or married and on your family situation. Your filing status is determined on the last day of your tax year, which is December 31 for most taxpayers.

Age.  If you are 65 or older at the end of the year, you generally can have a higher amount of gross income than other taxpayers before you must file. You are considered 65 on the day before your 65th birthday. For example, if your 65th birthday is on January 1, 2008, you are considered 65 for 2007.

To find out whether you must file, see the table 1-2 2007 Filing requirement for most taxpayers below:

2007 Filing Requirements for Most Taxpayers (Table 1-2)
IF your filing status is..
AND at the end of 2007 you
THEN file a return if your gross income was at least..**
single under 65
  65 or older
married filing jointly*** under 65 (both spouses)
  65 or older (one spouse)
  65 or older (both spouses)
married filing separately any age
head of household under 65
  65 or older
qualifying widow(er) with under 65
dependent child 65 or older
* If you were born on January 1, 1943, you are considered to be age 65 at the end of 2007.
** Gross income means all income you received in the form of money, goods, property, and services that is not exempt from tax, including any income from sources outside the United States (even if you may exclude part or all of it). Do not include social security benefits unless you are married filing a separate return and you lived with your spouse at any time during 2007.
*** If you did not live with your spouse at the end of 2007 (or on the date your spouse died) and your gross income was at least $3,400, you must file a return regardless of your age.

2. Dependents:

If you are a dependent See the above table to find out whether you must file a return.

Responsibility of parent.   Generally, a child is responsible for filing his or her own tax return and for paying any tax on the return. But if a dependent child who must file an income tax return cannot file it for any reason, such as age, then a parent, guardian, or other legally responsible person must file it for the child. If the child cannot sign the return, the parent or guardian must sign the child's name followed by the words “By (your signature), parent for minor child.”

Child's earnings. Amounts a child earns by performing services are his or her gross income. This is true even if under local law the child's parents have the right to the earnings and may actually have received them. If the child does not pay the tax due on this income, the parent is liable for the tax.

3. Children Under Age 18:

If a child's only income is interest and dividends (including capital gain distributions and Alaska Permanent Fund dividends) and certain other conditions are met, a parent can elect to include the child's income on the parent's return. If this election is made, the child does not have to file a return.

4. Self-Employed Persons:

You are self-employed if you:

  • Carry on a trade or business as a sole proprietor,

  • Are an independent contractor,

  • Are a member of a partnership, or

  • Are in business for yourself in any other way.

Self-employment can include work in addition to your regular full-time business activities, such as certain part-time work you do at home or in addition to your regular job.

5. Aliens:

Your status as an alien—resident, nonresident, or dual-status—determines whether and how you must file an income tax return.

Resident alien.  If you are a resident alien for the entire year, you must file a tax return following the same rules that apply to U.S. citizens. Use the forms discussed in this publication.

Nonresident alien.  If you are a nonresident alien, the rules and tax forms that apply to you are different from those that apply to U.S. citizens and resident aliens. See Publication 519 to find out if U.S. income tax laws apply to you and which forms you should file.

Dual-status taxpayer.  If you are a resident alien for part of the tax year and a nonresident alien for the rest of the year, you are a dual-status taxpayer. Different rules apply for each part of the year. For information on dual-status taxpayers, see Publication 519.


Even if you do not have to file, you should file a federal income tax return to get money back if any of the following conditions apply.
  1. You had federal income tax withheld from your pay or made estimated tax payments.

  2. You qualify for the earned income credit. See chapter 36 for more information.

  3. You qualify for the additional child tax credit. See chapter 34 for more information.

  4. You qualify for the health coverage tax credit. See chapter 37 for more information.

  5. You qualify for the refundable credit for prior year minimum tax


Errors may delay your refund or result in notices being sent to you. If you discover an error, you can file an amended return or claim for refund.

You should correct your return if, after you have filed it, you find that:

  1. You did not report some income,

  2. You claimed deductions or credits you should not have claimed,

  3. You did not claim deductions or credits you could have claimed, or

  4. You should have claimed a different filing status. (Once you file a joint return, you cannot choose to file separate returns for that year after the due date of the return. However, an executor may be able to make this change for a deceased spouse.)



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