You must file a return if you are over the threshold described in the following paragraphs. Even if you do not otherwise have to file a return, you should file one to get a refund of any federal income tax withheld. You should also file if you are eligible for the Child tax Credit or the Additional child tax credit, among others.
File Form 1040 by April 18, 2017. The due date is April 18, instead of April 15, because of the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia. If you file after this date, you may have to pay interest and penalties.
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, you qualify for an automatic extension of time to file without filing Form 4868 if you live, on the due date of your return, outside the United States.
This extension gives you an extra 2 months to file and pay the tax, but interest will be charged from the original due date of the return on any unpaid tax. You must include a statement showing that you meet the requirements. If you are still unable to file your return by the end of the 2-month period, you can get an additional 4 months if, no later than June 15, 2017, you file Form 4868. This 4-month extension of time to file doesn’t extend the time to pay your tax. All taxes must be paid before April 18th.
You must file a 1040 depending on your status, age, and gross income. If you were born on January 1, 1952, you are considered to be age 65 at the end of 2016. Gross income means all income you received in the form of money, goods, property, and services that isn’t exempt from tax, including any income from sources outside the United States or from the sale of your main home, even if you can exclude part or all of it. Gross income includes gains, but not losses.
You must file a 1040, if your filing status was single and at the end of 2016, you were under 65, and your gross income was at least $10,350, and if you were 65 or older and your gross income was at least $11,900.
You must file a 1040, if your filing status was married filing separately and your gross income was at least $4,050.
You must file a 1040, if your filing status was head of the household and at the end of 2016, you were under 65, and your gross income was at least $13,350, and if you were 65 or older and your gross income was at least $14,900.
If your parent (or someone else) can claim you as a dependent you might have to file a 1040 if you are younger than 65, your unearned income was over $1,050; or your earned income was over $6,300.
Unearned income includes taxable interest, ordinary dividends, and capital gain distributions, unemployment compensation, taxable social security benefits, pensions, annuities, and distributions of unearned income from a trust. Earned income includes salaries, wages, tips, professional fees, and taxable scholarship and fellowship grants.
You must also file a return if any of the five conditions below apply for 2016.
- You owe any special taxes, including any of the following:
- Alternative minimum tax.
- Additional tax on a qualified plan, including an individual retirement arrangement (IRA), or other tax-favored account.
- Household employment taxes.
- Social security and Medicare tax on tips you didn’t report to your employer or on wages you received from an employer who didn’t withhold these taxes.
- Recapture of first-time homebuyer credit.
- Write-in taxes, including uncollected social security and Medicare or RRTA tax on tips you reported to your employer.
- Recapture taxes.
- You (or your spouse, if filing jointly) received health savings account, Archer MSA, or Medicare Advantage MSA distributions.
- You had net earnings from self-employment of at least $400.
- You had wages of $108.28 or more from a church or qualified church-controlled organization that is exempt from employer social security and Medicare taxes.
- Advance payments of the premium tax credit were made for you, your spouse, or a dependent who enrolled in coverage through the Marketplace.