I Only Had a Job for a Month: Do I Need to File Taxes?

by Tara Thomas ; Updated September 07, 2018
Even a short-term job may entitle you to a tax refund.

Unless you’ve earned a large amount of money in that one month on the job, chances are you will not have to file taxes. However, this depends on several factors. How much you earned, your filing status and the number of jobs you had all year will determine whether you will have tax filing requirements. The IRS isn’t concerned about how long you’ve had a job or how many jobs it takes you to reach the minimum income thresholds; once this amount is exceeded, you are required to file taxes. As a result of these thresholds, depending on what you made, you may have to file taxes if you only worked one month.

Minimum Income Requirements To File Taxes

Each year the IRS releases inflation-adjusted figures that determine the minimum amount a worker has to earn before he has to file taxes. All earned income from each job is calculated to determine your minimum filing requirement. Check your age, filing status, and amount of earned income you had against the 2017 minimum income thresholds to find out if you need to file. Bear in mind that these thresholds differ for taxpayers claimed as a dependent on someone else’s returns, and are not for unearned income from dividends and interest on investments.

For tax year 2017, you will need to exceed the following minimum income requirements for your age and filing status before you are required to file a federal tax return:


  • Under 65 – $10,400
  • 65 and older – $11,950

Married Filing Jointly

  • Both spouses under 65 – $20,800
  • One spouse 65 and older – $22,050
  • Both spouses 65 years and older – $23,300

Married Filing Separately

  • Any age – $4,050

Head of Household

  • Under 65 – $13,400
  • 65 and older – $14,950

Qualifying Widow/er

  • Under 65

    – $16.750 * 65 and over – $18,000

Filing When It's Not Required

If your total income from all sources does not exceed limits for your age and filing status, then you aren’t required to file, but you might want to. The IRS will not notify you of any refunds or tax credits you’re eligible for. In order to get back any withholdings or refundable tax credits, you must file – even if you don’t have to. Refundable tax credits are credits that you can receive as a refund if your tax liability is zero.

Once your tax liability is brought to zero, you’re able to pocket any difference remaining, depending if the credit is partially or fully refundable. If your tax liability is already at zero, then you may be eligible to receive the entire credit as a refund. The Earned Income Tax Credit, the Additional Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit are all at least partially refundable, and can result in a refund for you at tax time.

To find out which tax credits you qualify for, or to determine if you are required to file taxes at all, consult with your tax preparer to discuss your best course of action. The IRS website also has interactive tax assistant tools and calculators to help you understand your own tax situation.

About the Author

Tara Thomas is a Los Angeles-based writer and avid traveler. Her articles appear in various online publications, including Sapling, PocketSense, Zacks, Livestrong, Modern Mom and SF Gate. She began her writing career in college authoring grant proposals for a Southern California marine science laboratory, which helped her develop a lifelong passion for environmentalism. She has a Bachelor of Science in marine biology from California State University, Long Beach. Thomas is also an event consultant/planner, spent 10 years as a mortgage consultant and enjoys writing on the subjects of travel and personal finance.

Photo Credits

  • Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images
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