Filing Requirements

Age.   If you are 65 or older at the end of the year, you generally can have a higher amount of gross income than other taxpayers before you must file. See Table 1-1. You are considered 65 on the day before your 65th birthday. For example, if your 65th birthday is on January 1, 2009, you are considered 65 for 2008.

Table 1-1.2008 Filing Requirements for Most Taxpayers

IF your filing status is… AND at the end of 2008 you
THEN file a return if
your gross income
was at least…**
single under 65 $8,950
65 or older $10,300
married filing jointly*** under 65 (both spouses) $17,900
65 or older (one spouse) $18,950
65 or older (both spouses) $20,000
married filing separately any age $3,500
head of household under 65 $11,500
65 or older $12,850
qualifying widow(er) with under 65 $14,400
dependent child 65 or older $15,450

* If you were born on January 1, 1944, you are considered to be age 65 at the end of 2008.
** Gross income means all income you received in the form of money, goods, property, and services that is not exempt from tax, including any income from sources outside the United States (even if you may exclude part or all of it). Do not include any social security benefits unless (a) you are married filing a separate return and you lived with your spouse at any time during 2008 or (b) one-half of your social security benefits plus your other gross income is more than $25,000 ($32,000 if married filing jointly). If (a) or (b) applies, see the instructions for Form 1040 or 1040A or Publication 915 to figure the taxable part of social security benefits you must include in gross income.
*** If you did not live with your spouse at the end of 2008 (or on the date your spouse died) and your gross income was at least $3,500, you must file a return regardless of your age.

Pennsylvania filers check here for instructions  –

mm About Leonard L. Shober

Leonard L. Shober has focused a quarter century on representing clients in their estates and tax matters. He began his legal career in an estate planning practice. However, his interest in taxes and estate planning led him to pursue a Master of Laws (LLM) from Temple which he completed in 1994. Len continued his estate and tax practice which ultimately led to a focus on the needs of the elderly and disabled. At Shober & Rock, Len focuses on elder law, tax and estate planning and estate and trust administration.

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