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Do you have to file a tax return?

Believe it or not, some people make it through tax-filing season without having to fill out a 1040? Why are they so lucky? In most cases it's because they don't make enough money in the Internal Revenue Service's eyes. Basically, you must file a tax return once you reach a certain income level for your age and filing status. For 2012 returns, that means a singl...e filer younger than 65 doesn't have to file as long as his or her adjusted gross income is less than $9,750. A 65-or-older single filer can make even more, up to $11,200 last year, and not have to file. The earnings trigger amounts are adjusted annually for inflation. The IRS also has different rules for dependents who earn money. Dependents have different filing requirements, with both earned (wages) and unearned (investments) income into account to determine whether you must file. If you're self-employed, you might not make enough to require sending a 1040 to Uncle Sam, but if you net more than $400 for your own business, you still must file Schedule SE to pay self-employment taxes. And even if you don't have to file, you will want to if you're due a refund.

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