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At What Age Can Someone Stop Filing Tax Returns?

March 28, 2012

By Thomas N. Tillery

Q:  My grandmother told me that because of her age, 83, she no longer has to file a federal income tax return.  Is this true?

The long and the short of it is you must file a tax return if your income is above a certain level. The income amount varies depending on filing status, age and the type of income you receive.

From your question, I will assume your grandmother is single and may not be claimed as a dependant on someone else’s return.  If your grandmother’s gross income is above $10,950 (2011) then she will need to file a federal income tax return.

Even if your grandmother is not required to file a federal income tax return based upon income, she will need to file if she is due a tax refund or is eligible for a refundable credit.  A refund could result if Federal Income Tax is withheld from distributions from her qualified plans.   She may qualify for a refundable credit even if she did not owe any tax.

Other examples that may require her to file a return:

Did she sell her home?

Was she born before July 1, 1937 (age 70 1/2) and not take the minimum required distribution from her qualified retirement plan?

So in other words, whether or not someone has to file a return is based upon their personal situation, not upon age.

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