The following will discuss whether an individual, over age 65, must file an income tax return for tax year 2015. Note: this is different from whether an individual should file an income tax return.
FIRST, you are age 65 or over at the end of 2015 if you were born before January 2, 1951.
SECOND, you must determine what filing status you are. There are five filing statuses:
- Married Filing Jointly,
- Married Filing Separately,
- Head of Household, and
- Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child.
If more than one filing status applies to you, you choose the one that will give you the lowest tax.
THIRD, you must know your gross income (all income you receive in the form of money, goods, property, and services that isn’t exempt from tax). Being 65 or over, if your filing status is…
- Single you must file if your gross income is over $11,850.00,
- Married Filing Jointly you must file if your gross income is over $21,850.00 (this number increases to $23,100.00 if both spouses are 65 or older),
- Married Filing Separately you must file if your gross income is over $4,000.00,
- Head of Household you must file if your gross income is over $14,800.00, and
- Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child you must file if your gross income is over $17,850.00.
Example: Sue and Stan of Smithtown, NY are both age 70 and file their income tax as Married Filing Jointly. During 2015 they had gross income totaling $22,750.00. Must they file an income tax return for tax year 2015? Answer: NO. Because their gross income is less than $23,100.00 they are not required to file an income tax return. Remember, this does not mean that they shouldn’t file one. i
To be continued….
Aaron E. Futterman, CPA, Esq. is a partner in the law firm of Futterman & Lanza, LLP with offices in Smithtown, NY and clients throughout Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Richmond, New York, Westchester and Rockland Counties. He concentrates his practice to Elder Law, Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Applications, Estate Planning, Probate, Estate Taxes, and Estate Administration.