Tax season has finally arrived! If you’re new to the whole filing taxes thing, you may be thinking “Do I have to file a tax return?” Don’t worry, we’re here to help.


There isn’t one definitive answer because everyone’s situation is different. There are various factors that affect whether or not you need to file a tax return. Those factors include:

  • Gross Income
  • Filing Status
  • Age
  • If You’re a Dependent


With a little help from the IRS, we’ve put together this handy dandy chart to help you determine if you need to file an income tax return. Simply match your filing status with your age, and if your gross income was at least that amount for 2015, then you should file a tax return.


Here are a few helpful hints before you start:

  • Gross income is all of the income you receive whether in the form of money, goods, property or services that is not exempt from tax. In other words, it is the total personal income you receive before taxes and deductions are taken out.
  • For the 2016 filing season, you report the income you received in 2015.
  • The rules in the chart below only apply if no one else has claimed you as a dependent on their federal tax income tax return for this year.

DIY Gross Income Chart

Even if you don’t have to file, you may want to - especially if you can get money back. Consider filing if you had income tax withheld from your pay or qualify for a refundable credit like the Earned Income Tax Credit.

For a more in depth look at IRS filing information, exemptions and deductions, see Publication 501.


Are you filing your tax return this year? Let us know in the comments below! And follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the DIY Tax blog.