Do I need to file taxes if I am an unmarried dependent student who made under $5000 in 2015?
First consult Filing Requirements 2 | Internal Revenue Service where it tells you:An unmarried dependent student must file a tax return if his or her earned or unearned income exceeds certain limits. To find these limits, refer to Dependents under Who Must File, in Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.This gives you a strong clue that the answer is to be found in Pub 501, the 2017 version of which tells you:A person who is a dependent may still have to file a return. It depends on his or her earned income, unearned income, and gross income. For details, see Table 2. A dependent must also file if one of the situations described in Table 3 applies.So trudge over to Table 2. You’ll see:Single dependents—Were you either age 65 or older or blind?No. You must file a return if any of the following apply.1. Your unearned income was more than $1,050.2. Your earned income was more than $6,350.3. Your gross income was more than the larger of—a. $1,050, orb. Your earned income (up to $6,000) plus $350.Yes. You must file a return if any of the following apply.1. Your unearned income was more than $2,600 ($4,150 if 65 or older and blind).2. Your earned income was more than $7,900 ($9,450 if 65 or older and blind).3. Your gross income was more than the larger of—a. $2,600 ($4,150 if 65 or older and blind), orb. Your earned income (up to $6,000) plus $1,900 ($3,450 if 65 or older and blind).So, assuming that you only made $5,000 and this was earned income, you don’t meet the filing requirement.Whew! You’re done, aren’t you?Not quite. Remember, a dependent must file if one of the situations in Table 3 applies. Guess where I’m going to next?If any of the six conditions listed below applied to you for 2017, you must file a return.You owe any special taxes, including any of the following.a. Alternative minimum tax. (See Form 6251.)b. Additional tax on a qualified plan, including an individual retirement arrangement (IRA), or other tax-favored account. (See Pub. 590-A, Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs); Pub. 590-B, Distributions from Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs); and Pub. 969, Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax-Favored Health Plans.) But if you are filing a return only because you owe this tax, you can file Form 5329 by itself.c. Social security or Medicare tax on tips you didn't report to your employer (see Pub. 531) or on wages you received from an employer who didn't withhold these taxes (see Form 8919).d. Write-in taxes, including uncollected social security, Medicare, or railroad retirement tax on tips you reported to your employer or on group-term life insurance and additional taxes on health savings accounts. (See Pub. 531, Pub. 969, and the Form 1040 instructions for line 62.)e. Household employment taxes. But if you are filing a return only because you owe these taxes, you can file Schedule H (Form 1040) by itself.f. Recapture taxes. (See the Form 1040 instructions for lines 44, 60b, and 62.)2. You (or your spouse if filing jointly) received Archer MSA, Medicare Advantage MSA, or health savings account distributions.3. You had net earnings from self-employment of at least $400. (See Schedule SE (Form 1040) and its instructions.)4. You had wages of $108.28 or more from a church or qualified church-controlled organization that is exempt from employer social security and Medicare taxes. (See Schedule SE (Form 1040) and its instructions.)5. Advance payments of the premium tax credit were made for you, your spouse, or a dependent who enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. You should have received Form(s) 1095-A showing the amount of the advance payments, if any.6. Advance payments of the health coverage tax credit were made for you, your spouse, or a dependent. You or whoever enrolled you should have received Form(s) 1099-H showing the amount of the advance payments.Okay, you’ve decided you don’t meet any of these. Time to relax and pop open a nice craft beer …Hold on. You remember that I said before that I was citing to the 2017 version of these documents. You have to figure out a way to check on the 2015 requirements and see if they differ.Now you start to reach for that beer again …But you’re not completely done.If you had income taxes withheld and you don’t owe any taxes, you are eligible for a refund. But guess what you have to do to get the refund? That’s right, file a return.You may now have an understanding of why people find it useful to hire tax preparers, who see these questions all the time and have software and experience to streamline this process.And there’s plenty of additional factors that could affect this analysis.