Whether you make the cut depends on your filing status and age.
Single filers must file a return if they earn at least:
· $12,000 if under 65
· $13,600 if 65 or older
Married filing jointly filers must file a return if they earn at least:
· $24,000 if both spouses are under 65
· $25,300 if one spouse is under 65 and one is 65 or older
· $26,600 if both spouses are 65 or older
Married filing separately filers must file a return if they earn at least:
· $5 for all ages
Calculator • Invented by: Blaise Pascal • Age when invented: 18 • Invented in: 1642 Blaise Pascal was a noted French mathematician, physicist, and theologian, and he also is credited with inventing what is considered an early calculator. Pascal created the device to help his father, who was a tax collector, figure out taxes more easily. His invention was called the Pascaline, which operated with a numerical wheel calculator that featured movable dials, with each dial representing a digit. Pascal continued to make improvements on the device and made dozens of versions of the machine. (Photo: MangoStar_Studio / iStock)
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Head of household filers must file a return if they earn at least:
· $18,000 if under 65
· $19,600 if 65 or older
Qualifying widow or widower with dependent child must file a return if they earn at least:
· $24,000 if under 65
· $25,300 if 65 or older
You also may be required to file a federal return if you're self-employed, were paid on a 1099-MISC form or purchased health insurance from a state or federal marketplace.
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The IRS provides an online tool to help you determine if you're required to file a 2018 federal tax return.Why you should file anyway
Even if you aren't required to file a tax return because your income doesn't meet the minimum thresholds, you may want to do so anyway. That's because you may be eligible for a refundable credit.
One of the most missed-out refundable credits is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), designed to provide relief for low- and moderate-income taxpayers. For 2018, the credit can be worth up to up to $6,431.
Another refundable credit is the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). This year, you can receive a refund that equals 15 percent of your earnings above $2,500, up to $1,400.How to file
Most taxpayers have until Monday, April 15 to file their 2018 taxes. If you have a simple return – where you take the standard deduction, have W-2 income, claim the EITC or child tax credit and have limited interest and dividend income – then you likely qualify for a free simple federal tax return.
Most major tax preparers, such as TurboTax and H&R Block, offer a free-file service.CLOSE
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