Who is Required to File a Tax Return?

If you meet certain income requirements, you are required to file a federal tax return. You could face penalties if you don't.

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Now that tax season is officially open, it is important to know who is required to file a tax return this year. For most people, the last day to file a federal income tax return, or to request an extension to file, is April 15. If you miss this deadline, you could face penalties. 

You have to file a federal income tax return with the IRS once your income meets a certain threshold or limit. Those income limits depend on standard deduction amounts, which are based on your filing status and your age. For example, if you are 65 or older, the income threshold for whether you are required to file a tax return is higher. (But keep in mind that most forms of retirement income are taxable at the federal level). 

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Katelyn Washington
Former Tax Writer

Katelyn has more than 6 years of experience working in tax and finance. While she specialized in tax content while working at Kiplinger from 2023 to 2024, Katelyn has also written for digital publications on topics including insurance, retirement, and financial planning and had financial advice commissioned by national print publications. She believes knowledge is the key to success and enjoys providing content that educates and informs.