Minimum Income Filing Requirements for Taxes

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You may want to file a return even if you are not legally required to do so.
You may want to file a return even if you are not legally required to do so. (Image: tax forms image by Chad McDermott from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

The Internal Revenue Service has established guidelines for the minimum income that must be received before a taxpayer is required to file a return. Even if your income does not exceed the minimum levels, you must still file a return to receive a refund of taxes withheld from your payroll check during the course of the year. You must also file to receive tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or the First-Time Homebuyer Credit.

2009 Minimum Levels for Single Filing Status

If you are unmarried and at the end of the year younger than 65 years old, the minimum income level is $9,350. If you are unmarried and 65 or older at the end of the year, the minimum is $10,750.

2009 Minimum Levels for Married Filing Jointly Status

If both spouses are younger than 65 at the end of the year, the minimum income level is $18,700. If one spouse is 65 or older at the end of the year, the minimum income level is $19,800. The minimum level is $20,900 if both spouses are 65 or older.

2009 Minimum Level for Married Filing Separately Status

Regardless of age, the minimum income level for married persons who file separate returns is $3,650.

2009 Minimum Levels for Head of Household Filing Status

Those who use Head of Household filing status and who are younger than 65 at the end of the year have a minimum income threshold of $12,000. This minimum increases to $13,400 for those 65 and older at the end of the year who file as Head of Household.

2009 Minimum Levels for Qualifying Widows/Widowers with Dependent Child

Those who are younger than 65 and file as a widow or widower with a dependent child have a minimum income level established at $15,050. For the same filing status, the level is $16,150 for those who are 65 or older at the end of the year.

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