These Americans aren't required to file taxes each year – here's why

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As the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the U.S. earlier this year, the federal government gave Americans three months longer to file their taxes, extending the deadline from April 15 to July 15.

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By moving the deadline, the federal government allowed individuals and businesses to hold onto their cash longer as they deal with the fallout from the outbreak of the virus. The delay injected about $300 billion of liquidity into the economy, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

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Taxpayers need to either file or seek an extension by July 15 or face a penalty. So far, the IRS has received about 140 million returns. But not every American is required to file a tax return, depending on your filing status — like whether or not you're married — and how much you earn.

Typically, if your income does not exceed certain thresholds, you are not required to file an income tax return. Americans generally do not need to file a return if their income is less than their standard deduction, unless they have a special type of income that requires them to file for other purposes (for instance, if they're self-employed).

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For 2019, the standard deduction is $12,200 for single filers and married filers filing separately. For married couples filing jointly, it's $24,400; and for single parents, it's $18,350.

There's no minimum age set for filing taxes; however, Americans over the age of 65 will have the option to use a simple tax form designed for seniors, known as form 1040-SR. Likewise, when other taxpayers — like your parents — claim you as a dependent, you may still be required to file your own return if the total of your unearned income was more than $1,100.

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If you only receive Social Security benefits, you likely are not required to file annual income taxes, according to the IRS. Part of your benefits may be taxable if you were single, a single parent, or a widow and earned more than $25,000. For married couples filing jointly, the threshold is $32,000.

More than 15 million Social Security recipients do not currently file tax returns and are not required to do so, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

If you're unsure, you can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool launched by the IRS, which helps Americans determine whether they need to file a return.

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Most states also take taxes from Americans' incomes, so be sure to check your state tax requirements, too. A majority require you to file a state tax return if you file a federal one, but you can check the requirements on TurboTax.

Still, even if you are not legally required to file taxes, you may still want to consider doing so if you had any withholdings that can be refunded or if you want to qualify for refundable credits like the child tax credit or American Opportunity education credit.

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