Deciding Whether and How to File? Here’s What to Remember

As people prepare to file their taxes, there are things to consider. They will want to determine if they need to file and the best way to do so.

Here are three things for people to keep in mind as they prepare to file their taxes:

  • Who is Required to File.  In most cases, income, filing status and age determine if a taxpayer must file a tax return. Other rules may apply if the taxpayer is self-employed or if they are a dependent of another person. For example, if a taxpayer is single and younger than age 65, they must file if their income was at least $10,400. There are other instances when a taxpayer must file. Go to  for more information.
  • Filing to get a refund. Even if a taxpayer doesn’t have to file, they should file a tax return if they can get money back. If a taxpayer answers “yes” to any of these questions, they could be due a refund: ◦Did my employer withhold federal income tax from my pay?
    • Did I make estimated tax payments?
    • Did I overpay last year and have it applied to this year’s tax?
  • Taxpayers can File for Free. Join the millions of Americans who safely file their taxes and save money using IRS Free File. Seventy percent of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File. Commercial partners of the IRS offer free brand-name software to about 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $66,000 or less. Taxpayers who earned more can use Free File Fillable Forms. This option allows taxpayers to complete IRS forms electronically. It is best for those who are used to doing their own taxes.

Instructions for Forms 10401040A or 1040EZ list income tax filing requirements. Taxpayers can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool on to answer many tax questions.. They should look for “Do I need to file a return?” under general topics.

All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.