Video Tips: Why You Should File a Tax Return Even When Not Required

Generally, an individual is required to file a federal tax return for a year if their income exceeds the standard deduction for their filing status for that year.  Self-employed individuals also must file if their self-employment earnings for the year exceed $400, even if their income does not exceed the standard deduction. Special rules apply to certain children who have taxable income. State rules may vary.

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