I owed the IRS after making this tax mistake in college

Whether you are required to submit a tax return depends on your filing status and your gross income.

Single filers who are under 65 must file a 2018 return if their gross income was at least $12,000. The income threshold is a little higher — $13,600 — for singles who are 65 and up.

Married couples who file jointly are required to submit a 2018 return if their gross income was at least $24,000.

If one spouse is at least 65, that minimum income threshold goes up to $25,300. The number is even higher if both are 65 and up: $26,600.

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Finally, single dependents who are under 65 and aren’t blind are required to submit a 2018 tax return if they had unearned income (taxable interest and capital gains, for instance) over $1,050, or if their earned income (salaries, wages and taxable scholarships and fellowships) exceeded $12,000.

These dependents are also required to file if their gross income exceeded the larger of $1,050 or their earned income (up to $11,650), plus $350.

Did you get a 1099-MISC for independent contractor work? If your net earnings from self-employment are $400 or more, you’ll need to calculate the taxes owed and file Schedule SE.

Even if you’re not required to file, it might pay to do so. That’s because you might be eligible for a tax refund or other benefits, including the earned income tax credit.

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