Tax Basics

Who’s required to file?

The income tax code is ever changing and keeping up can be quite a daunting task. ATC tax preparation pros use three key tax rules to determine if you are required to file a personal tax return. By using our tax preparation services, you’ll be able to simplify and speed up your tax filing process. Let’s go through the tax basics and updates.

First, let’s look at the three key factors that determine whether or not you are required to file a tax return.

If your gross income is above a certain amount you are required to file a federal tax return. Depending on your filing status, your age, and type of income you’re reporting, your gross income can vary quite a bit. Your gross income includes all income that you receive in the form of money, goods, property, and services.

If you are age 65 or older or legally blind any age on the last day of the tax year, you are allowed a higher amount of gross income than other taxpayers before you are required to file a return. By visiting your nearest ATC center and talking to our tax preparation service pros, you can learn more about the different exemptions based on the age bracket you fall under.

Figuring out your filing status is the first step in determining your filing requirement and your standard deduction. There are distinct differences in the filing criteria that come with each filing status. Our skilled teams of tax preparation professionals are ready to help you understand the subtleties.

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Filing Status Age Income
Under 65
65 or Older
Head of House hold
Under 65
65 or Older
Married, filling jointly
Under 65 (both spouses)
65 or Older (one spouses)
65 or Older (both spouses)
Married, filling separately
any age
Qualitying widow(er)
under 65
With dependent child
65 or older
any age

The standard deduction is a dollar amount that reduces the amount of income subject to tax. You cannot take the standard deduction if you are claiming itemized deductions. The amount of standard deduction is based on a taxpayer’s filing status. The standard deduction amount can change from year to year depending upon inflation. Higher Standard Deduction There is an additional deduction amount for taxpayers age 65 or older, are blind, or both. The additional amount for age will be allowed if you or your spouse is age 65 or older on the last day of the tax year. The IRS considers you 65 on the day before your birthday. The additional amount for blindness will be allowed if you or your spouse is totally or partly blind on the last day of the tax year.

Filing Status Amount
Married filing joint returns/Qualifying Widow(er)
Head of Household
Married, filing separate return
Dependent standard deduction minimum

Personal exemptions were eliminated in 2018.

Unmarried Filers Married Filers Rate
But Not Over
But Not Over
or more
or more

Tax rate schedules help you estimate your federal income tax. The tax tables are based on your expected filing status.

The actual amount of your income tax is figured on Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ

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