Is There a Minimum Income to File Taxes in California?

Is there a minimum income to file taxes in California? For many residents, filing taxes is a requirement, but there can be some exceptions based on income and other factors.

Individuals or families who do not earn a significant gross income may not have to file a federal income tax return, but there can still be advantages to doing so. OC Free Tax Prep can help offset the costs of filing for low-income households and ensure families are maximizing their return potential.

California residents are gearing up for tax season. Though the deadline to file is April 18, 2023, it is not too early to start gathering necessary documents. A big question on some people’s minds, however, is whether they even need to file taxes if they did not have significant income.

Minimum Income to File Taxes in California

Most people are required to file a state return in California, even with minimal income, but what about a federal return? The answer depends primarily on your age, income, and filing status. Here is a basic breakdown for filing:

 IF your filing status is . . .  AND at the end of 2022
you were* . . .
THEN file a return if your gross
income** was at least . . .
 Single under 65
65 or older
 Married filing jointly under 65 (both spouses)
65 or older (one spouse)
65 or older (both spouses)
Married filing separately  any age  $5
 Head of household  under 65
65 or older
 Qualifying widow(er) under 65
65 or older 

In addition, if you are self-employed, received a 1099-MISC form, or received an advanced tax credit through the California state or federal healthcare marketplace, you may be required to file a tax return.

Should You File a Tax Return if You are Not Required to File?

Just because you don’t meet the gross income requirements to file does not mean you should not file. You may be eligible to receive a refund or cash back tax credits.

For instance, low-income families may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) federally, and the California EITC on their state tax return. This can pay anywhere from $275 to $6,935. So as long as you earned income, there is no minimum to file taxes in California.

It is a good idea to talk with a tax professional to determine your filing status and whether you are required to file or could benefit from doing so anyway. Orange County United Way’s OC Free Tax Prep helps qualifying households in Orange County file taxes for free and maximize their returns.

Tax volunteers help educate families on available tax credits and refunds they may be eligible for and assist with accurately preparing and filing tax documents. The tax refunds received help residents save for the future, pay down debt, and afford basic necessities. 

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