The tax season is at hand. As responsible citizens, we need to file and pay our fair share of taxes — or risk going to jail or face penalties. You may skip filing taxes if you do not owe anything. However, if you owe taxes and do not file your returns, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will collect money from you in applicable ways, such as garnishing your earnings. Hence, it is a prudent practice to file whether you need to or not.
Most people in the United States need to file a tax return. In general, you need to file a tax return if your total income was more than the value of your standard deduction.
For example, you need to file a return if you are a single filer, under the age of 65, and your gross income or total annual income was $12,550. A married couple under the age of 65 should earn at least $25,100 before filing taxes. Use the table below to know the income thresholds for filing 2021 taxes.
|Filing Status||Age||Gross Income (2021)|
|Single||65 or older||$14,200|
|Married filing jointly||Both spouses under 65||$25,100|
|Married filing jointly||One spouse 65 or older||$26,400|
|Married filing jointly||Both spouses 65 or older||$27,700|
|Married filing separately||All ages||$5|
|Head of household||Under 65||$18,800|
|Head of household||65 or older||$20,450|
|Qualifying widow(er)||Under 65||$25,100|
|Qualifying widow(er)||65 or older||$26,400|
Tax Rates and Brackets
How much taxes you need to pay depends on your tax filing status. Use the table below to determine your tax rate based on your tax bracket.
|2021 Marginal Tax Rates||Single Tax Bracket||Married Filing Jointly Tax Bracket||Head of Household Tax Bracket||Married Filing Separately Tax Bracket|
|37%||Over $523,600||Over $628,300||Over $523,600||Over $314,150|
According to the IRS, January 24, 2022, is the start of the tax filing season. In general, the due date for filing tax returns is April 15. This year, the IRS has set the deadline to April 18, 2022. It is also the deadline to file an extension. Taxpayers who will request an extension will have until October 17, 2022, to file. Use the table below to know the tax deadlines for common IRS forms.
|Entity||Filing Deadline||IRS Form|
|Individual; Sole Proprietor||April 15, 2022||Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return; Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals|
|Partnership||March 15, 2022||Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income|
|S-corporation||March 15, 2022||Form 1120-S, U.S. Income Tax Return for an S Corporation|
|C-corporation||April 15, 2022||Form 1120, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return|
Here are other key filing season dates, according to the IRS:
January 14, 2022
- The IRS Free File opens. This option is ideal for taxpayers with an income of less than $69,000.
January 18, 2022
- The due date for the 2021 fourth-quarter estimated tax payment.
January 24, 2022
- The start of the 2022 tax season. The IRS begins accepting and processing returns.
January 28, 2022
- Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day. This is to raise awareness of valuable tax credits available.
April 18, 2022
- The due date to file your 2021 tax return or request an extension and pay the tax owed due to the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, D.C., even for those who live outside the area.
- The due date for the 2022 first-quarter estimated tax payment.
April 19, 2022
- The due date to file your 2021 tax return or request an extension and pay the tax owed for those who live in Massachusetts or Maine due to the Patriots’ Day holiday.
June 15, 2022
- The due date for the 2022 second-quarter estimated tax payment.
September 15, 2022
- The due date for the 2022 third-quarter estimated tax payment.
October 17, 2022
- The due date to file for taxpayers who requested an extension on their 2021 tax return.
January 17, 2023
- The due date for the 2022 fourth-quarter estimated tax payment.
Note: Use Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, or Form 2350, Application for Extension of Time to File U.S. Income Tax Return, to request an extension — whichever is applicable.
Gathering Applicable Tax Forms
To complete your tax return, you will need your financial information from other IRS forms. Here are some useful tax forms you can use:
- Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement — Employers use Form W-2 to report the wage and salary information of their employees. If you have multiple employers, you must get a copy of your Form W-2 from each of them.
- 1099 forms — 1099 forms report money earned outside employment. There are various versions of 1099, depending on the type of income. Some of the common 1099 forms are Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income; Form 1099-NEC, Non-Employee Compensation; Form 1099-DIV, Dividends and Distributions; and Form 1099-INT, Interest Income.
Filing Your Tax Return
There are three main ways to file your tax return:
The most traditional way is to complete a paper form and mail it to the IRS. Physically mailing the form is free. However, it is less secure compared to other methods and takes longer to process.
You can fill out your tax return online and submit it to the IRS electronically. Some websites offer a tax software program. They will assist you in completing the IRS forms you need and filing them electronically. The IRS also offers Free File, a program that is ideal for taxpayers with an income of less than $69,000.
Hiring a professional
You can hire a professional, such as a tax accountant or a certified tax preparer who will work with you and help you file your return. Working with a professional is recommended if you have a complex tax situation.
The IRS encourages taxpayers to plan ahead of the tax-filing season. If you have any questions, you contact the IRS or visit IRS.gov.