Filing taxes is an essential aspect of adulthood. It’s a requirement mandated by law that helps fund the government’s social programs and infrastructure developments. However, not everyone knows when they’re required to file their taxes, especially young taxpayers and seniors. In this article, we’ll give comprehensive insights into the age requirements for tax filing, laws applicable to minors, and seniors. We’ll also provide a step-by-step guide for young taxpayers on how to file taxes for the first time, and the consequences of failing to file taxes.

What Age Do You Need to File Taxes?

The age range for filing taxes varies depending on several factors. These factors include whether you’re filing independently or as a dependent on another taxpayer’s return and your file status. However, generally, taxpayers who earn above a specific income threshold are required to file tax returns. In 2021, this threshold varies for each tax filing status. Single taxpayers under the age of 65 who earn less than $12,550 are not required to file taxes. However, Single taxpayers over the age of 65 with earnings below $14,250 must still file taxes. Married couples filing jointly with one spouse under the age of 65 with income below $21,000 are not required to file taxes. Above these thresholds, taxpayers are required to file federal tax returns annually.

Young Taxpayers Taught: When to File Your First Tax Return

If a young individual is earning income through a job or investment, they are generally required to file taxes. However, most teenagers do not start filing tax returns until they turn 18. The first time any individual must file a tax return is generally when they are not someone else’s dependent anymore. This means that they must either be at least 19 years old or be enrolled as a full-time student and at most 24 years old by the end of the tax year.

Filing taxes for the first time can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here is a step-by-step guide for young taxpayers:

  1. Gather all the necessary documents
  2. Choose the right tax form
  3. Fill out the necessary information
  4. Enter your income and expenses
  5. Check your work
  6. File your tax return and pay your taxes

Tax Filing Laws for Minors

Minors who earn income during the tax year are required to file taxes under specific laws. If a child earns over $12,400 on wages, salaries, tips, or other earnings, including interest and dividends, they are required to file a tax return. Parents, however, can elect to include their child’s income on their tax return. In such a case, the parents’ marginal tax rate will apply to the child’s income. If a child has unearned income of at least $1,100, they will be required to file a tax return, and rules apply for calculating a child’s tax on unearned income.

Age is Just a Number: Tax Filing Obligations for Seniors

Seniors can take advantage of multiple tax benefits offered by the IRS. If you’re at least 65 years old or will turn 65 during the tax year, you can claim an additional standard deduction amount for that year. If you’re married and one of you is at least 65 years old, an additional standard deduction amount is available. Seniors and retirees can also benefit from the tax credits offered by the IRS. These credits include the Credit for the Elderly or Disabled, the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, and the Foreign Tax Credit.

Seniors can also maximize their tax savings through deductions for medical expenses, out-of-pocket charitable contributions, and state and local taxes. Additionally, seniors can use their retirement funds to make charitable contributions tax-free.

Teach Your Teen How To File Taxes: A Crash Course

The process of filing taxes can be overwhelming for anyone, regardless of age. The good news is that as a parent, you can help your teenagers make the process less intimidating. For starters, explain to them that it’s a standard part of working and earning money. Here are a few other tips for making it easier:

  1. Start with the basics
  2. Demonstrate how to fill tax forms
  3. Encourage them to ask questions
  4. Emphasize the importance of saving receipts
  5. Stay involved in the process

What Happens If You Don’t File Taxes When You’re Supposed To

If you don’t file your taxes on time or at all, you could face serious consequences. Some consequences include fines, penalties, and interests on taxes owed. Other penalties include losing eligibility for social security benefits, passport denial or revocation, or even arrest and jail time. The best way to avoid these consequences is to file on time or seek professional help if you can’t file your taxes.


Regardless of your age, it’s crucial to understand when you are required to file taxes and how to do it. If you’re unsure of anything, seek professional help, or consult the IRS resources. Lastly, make sure you file your taxes on time to avoid any consequences.

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By Happy Sharer

Hi, I'm Happy Sharer and I love sharing interesting and useful knowledge with others. I have a passion for learning and enjoy explaining complex concepts in a simple way.

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