Minimum Income Requirements to File a Federal Tax Return – 2013

In this article, I’d like to inform you about the minimum income requirements to file a tax return for the tax year 2013.

If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, you must file a return if your gross income for the year was at least the amount shown on the appropriate line in the table below.  If you were a nonresident alien at any time during the year, the filing requirements that apply to you may be different from those that apply to U.S. citizens.

In order to determine whether you need to file a federal income tax return or not depends on the following:

  • Your Filing Status
  • Your Age
  • Your Income
  • Your Dependency Status
  • Other Special Requirements


Filing StatusAgeMinimum Gross Income
SingleUnder 65$10,000
Single65 or older$11,500
Head of HouseholdUnder 65$12,850
Head of Household65 or older$14,350
Married Filing JointlyUnder 65
(both spouses)
Married Filing Jointly65 or older
(one spouse)
Married Filing Jointly65 or older
(one spouse)
Married Filing SeparatelyAny Age$3,900
Qualifying Widower
w/ Dependent Children
Under 65$16,100
Qualifying Widower
/w Dependent Children
65 or older$17,300

Even though your income may be below the minimum requirements, you may still want to file for the following reasons:

  • You had taxes withheld during the year (you must file a return to receive a refund).
  • You qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • You are claiming:
    • Education Credits
    • Child Tax Credits
    • Health Coverage Tax Credit
    • Adoption Tax Credit
  • You made estimated tax payments
What is my gross income?

Gross income means all income you receive in the form of money, goods, property, and services that is not 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). It also includes gains, but not losses, reported on Form 8949 or Schedule D. Gross income from a business means, for example, the amount on Schedule C, line 7, or Schedule F, line 9. But in figuring gross income, do not reduce your income by any losses, including any loss on Schedule C, line 7, or Schedule F, line 9. Do not include any social security benefits unless (a) you are married filing separately and you lived with your spouse at any time in 2013 or (b) one-half of your social security benefits plus your other gross income and any tax-exempt interest is more than $25,000 ($32,000 if married filing jointly). If (a) or (b) applies, see the Instructions for Form 1040 or Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits, to figure the taxable part of social security benefits you must include in gross income.

Avatar for Orkun Ozkaymak, CPA, MBA
Author: Orkun Ozkaymak, CPA, MBA
Orkun Ozkaymak, CPA, MBA