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There are two types of income:
Taxable income and non-taxable income

Taxable income is any income that is subject to tax. It must be reported on a tax return, unless the amount is less than the required amount of income to file. Types of taxable income:

  • Wages, salaries, bonuses, and commissions
  • Tips and other compensation for personal services
  • Interest/Dividends (unless tax-exempt)
  • Alimony received or separate maintenance payments received
  • Recoveries of items deducted in prior year(s)
  • Business income
  • Hobby income (a hobby loss is not deductible)
  • Capital gains 
  • Gain from the sale of property 
  • Pensions and annuities (part may be nontaxable)
  • IRA distributions (part or all may be nontaxable)
  • Refunds from state overpaid taxes
  • Rents received
  • Royalties
  • Estate, trust or K-1 income
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Railroad retirement benefits (part may be taxable)
  • Social security benefits (part may be taxable)
  • Jury duty pay
  • Executors' fees
  • Gambling winnings (including lotteries, contests, raffles, etc.) (losses may be deducted against winnings) 
  • Non qualifying scholarships and fellowships
  • Payments for punitive damages and compensatory damages not attributable to physical injuries or sickness.
  • Bartering income
  • Some cancelled debts
  • Foster care payments
  • Military pensions

Nontaxable Income is income that is exempt from tax. If a return must be filed, some types of nontaxable income will be shown on your return but will not be added into the amount of income subject to tax. The following types of income are nontaxable:

  • Child support
  • Gifts, bequests and inheritances (may be subject to other taxes)
  • Life insurance proceeds
  • Certain veteran’s benefits
  • Buildup of cash or loan value of life insurance
  • Insurance reimbursement of medical expenses not previously deducted
  • Most life insurance proceeds paid upon death
  • Public assistance payments
  • Workers' compensation
  • Dividends on veteran’s life insurance loans
  • Compensatory damages for personal physical injury or physical illness
  • SSI payments


IF your filing status is . . .

AND at the end of 2017 you were* . . .

THEN file a return if your gross income** was at least . . .


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


Head of household

under 65

 65 or older



Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child

under 65

65 or older



*If you were born on January 1, 1953, you are considered to be age 65 at the end of 2017. (If your spouse died in 2017 or if you are preparing a return for someone who died in 2017, see Pub. 501.) **Gross income means all income you received in the form of money, goods, property, and services that is not exempt from tax, including any income from sources outside the United States or from the sale of your main home (even if you can exclude part or all of it). Do not include any social security benefits unless (a) you are married filing a separate return and you lived with your spouse at any time in 2017 or (b) one-half of your social security benefits plus your other gross income and any tax-exempt interest is more than $25,000 ($32,000 if married filing jointly). If (a) or (b) applies, see the instructions for lines 20a and 20b to figure the taxable part of social security benefits you must include in gross income. Gross income includes gains, but not losses, reported on Form 8949 or Schedule D. Gross income from a business means, for example, the amount on Schedule C, line 7, or Schedule F, line 9. But, in figuring gross income, do not reduce your income by any losses, including any loss on Schedule C, line 7, or Schedule F, line 9. ***If you did not live with your spouse at the end of 2017 (or on the date your spouse died) and your gross income was at least $4,050, you must file a return regardless of your age.