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Who Needs to File a 2018 Tax Return?


Tax filing requirements

How to Figure Out if You Need to File a 2018 Tax Return

2018 tax returns are due April 15, 2019, but not everyone needs to file a tax return. Taxpayers most commonly need to file when they want a tax refund, when they earned more than the income threshold, or when they had self-employment income.

It’s best to figure out if you need to file a return early on during the tax season so you don’t need to scramble to get your return completed by Tax Day.

Income Thresholds

You need to file a return if your income was at or above the following amounts in 2018:

  • $12,000 for single taxpayers
  • $18,000 for heads of household
  • $24,000 for married taxpayers who file joint returns

Taxpayers whose income exceeds the thresholds need to file regardless of whether they owe taxes or will receive a refund.

Self-Employment Income

You need to file a tax return if you had self-employment income of $400 or more. This threshold amount applies to taxpayers with any filing status.

Self-employed taxpayers may have more complex tax returns, so make sure you have records of your business expenses and any estimated tax payments you made throughout the year.

Premium Tax Credits

Advanced premium tax credits offset a portion of the cost of your health insurance premiums. If you received these amounts throughout the year, you’ll need to file a return.

Your premium tax credits are based on your income, so you may need to pay some of these amounts back if your income was higher than expected.

Refund of Withholding

If you want a tax refund, you need to file a tax return. Even if you earned under the threshold amount and aren’t required to file, you’ll still want to file because it’s the only way to get your refund money!

You may not know whether or not you’ll receive a refund until you enter your information into a tax software or meet with a tax preparer. Take the time to make sure you aren’t missing out of your chance to get a refund.

Refundable Credits

Even if you aren’t due a refund of amounts withheld from your paycheck, it’s still possible for you to get a refund. That’s because refundable of credits, such as the Earned Income Credit.


There are also some other less common reasons you may need to file a tax return. If you’re running out of time to file, you can request an automatic six-month filing extension.

If you owe money on your return and aren’t sure how to pay it, consult a tax resolution attorney to discuss your options.

Like the Ayar Law Facebook page to receive more tax law updates or call us at 800.571.75715 to get free, no-obligation tax advice from a qualified and experienced attorney.


Venar Ayar, Esq.

Venar Ayar, Esq.

Attorney-at-Law, Master of Laws in Taxation
Principal and founder, Ayar Law

Venar is an award-winning tax attorney ranked as a Top Lawyer in the field of Tax Law. Mr. Ayar has a Master of Laws in Taxation – the highest degree available in tax, held by only a small number of the country’s attorneys.