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I have a question related to self employed tax filing when there is no income to report. I started a business, but it didn't make money. I only lived off of savings, child support, credit cards, and some stock I sold. When I file taxes, how do I report that?

When filing, you’re required to file only if your income is a certain amount or more. The filing requirement only applies if your taxable gross income was at least:

  • Income requirement, Single -- $10,300 if under age 65, or $11,850 if age 65 or older
  • Married filing return jointly:
    • $20,600 if both spouses filing taxes are under age 65
    • $21,850 if one spouse is under age 65 and one is age 65 or older
    • $23,100 if both spouses are age 65 or older
  • Married filing separately -- $4,000 for all ages
  • Head of household -- $13,250 if under age 65, or $14,800 if age 65 or older
  • Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child filing return -- $16,600 if under age 65, or $16,850 if age 65 or older

These are the general file return guidelines. There could be other reasons you must file besides income. For instance, your net earnings from self-employment might be more than $400. If so, you’re required to file a return to properly account for your self-employment taxes.

If you received an advanced premium credit for marketplace health insurance bought for you, your spouse or a dependent, you must file a return to verify that the correct amount was received based on your actual income for 2015.

Also, you might need to file because you received Forms 1099-MISC or 1099-B showing income that led the IRS to believe that you might owe taxes. You should file a return to show that the taxes aren’t due or that they’re due in a lesser amount.

Even if you aren't required to file, you might want to file to:

  • Request a refund of any tax withheld
  • Report a net operating loss that you can carry back to previous years -- and perhaps generate a refund
  • Report a net capital loss you can carry over to future years


Ready to file?

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So how much will you get (or owe) this year? That’s the million-dollar question. We happen to have three very useful calculators to help you estimate your refund or balance due.

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