For tax years before 2020, whether a taxpayer who is a U.S. citizen or resident must file a return depends on three factors:
(1) the taxpayer’s gross income;
(2) the taxpayer’s filing status; and
(3) the taxpayer’s age.
A taxpayer’s filing status is determined on the last day of the tax year. If the taxpayer is 65 or older at the end of the year, the taxpayer can have a higher amount of gross income before being required to file a tax return. A taxpayer is considered 65 on the day before the taxpayer’s 65th birthday. Thus, a taxpayer who turns 65 on January 1, 2021, is considered 65 at December 31, 2020.
For tax years after 2017 and before 2026, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) modified the filing requirements for those who are required to file a tax return. In the case of:
- An individual who is not married, such individual is required to file a tax return if the taxpayer’s gross income for the tax year exceeds the applicable standard deduction (Code Sec. 6012(f)(1)).
- Married individuals are required to file a return if that individual’s gross income, when combined with the individual’s spouse’s gross income for the tax year, is more than the standard deduction applicable to a joint return, provided that: (1) such individual and his spouse, at the close of the tax year, had the same household as their home; (2) the individual’s spouse does not make a separate return; and (3) neither the individual nor his spouse is a dependent of another taxpayer who has income (other than earned income) in excess of $500 (indexed for inflation) (Code Sec. 6012(f)(2)).
DON FITCH, CPA
74478 Highway 111 #3
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Toll Free: (877)CPA-Help or (877)272-4357
(Updated 02/14/2021 09:16)