There are some instances when you may not be required to file a federal income-tax return. But keep this in mind — more than 70 percent...

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There are some instances when you may not be required to file a federal income-tax return. But keep this in mind — more than 70 percent of those who file are due a refund, so it may be to your advantage to file, even if you are not required to.

The law does require you to file a tax return if your income is above a certain level. Check the instructions for Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ (under “filing requirements”) for specific details that may affect your need to file a tax return with IRS this year.

Here are some general guidelines for anyone under age 65. Remember, these guidelines may change based on your particular situation. In general, once you have the following gross-income amounts, the law requires you to file a federal tax return with the IRS:

Single — $7,950

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Head of household — $10,250

Married filing jointly — $15,900

Married filing separately — $3,100

Qualifying widower (with dependent child) — $12,800

Generally, a person who is self-employed must file a tax return if his or her net earnings from self-employment for the year exceed $400.

Even individuals who don’t earn enough to be required to file a tax return may be eligible for an earned-income credit up to $2,604 for a taxpayer with one qualifying child and $4,300 for a taxpayer with two or more qualifying children. Some individuals who do not have a qualifying child may be eligible for a credit of up to $390.

However, you must file a return to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit. You must also file a return if you received any advance payments of this credit while you worked during the year.

For more information, check the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov.

You may download forms and publications from this site or order them by calling toll free 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).


— Internal Revenue Service


On the Web


H&R Block:

www.hrblock.com/taxes/tools

Contains tax tips and calculators.


SmartMoney.com:

www.smartmoney.com/tax

Features tax basics, worksheets and feature articles.


Tax Hawk:

www.taxhawk.com

Select “tax tips” to access a list of the top 10 tips and more.


— Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service