I don’t make (a lot of) money; do I still need to report to the USA?

Yes. Even if you have no earnings, it does not always dismiss you from filing taxes in the US; it will most likely result in you not paying any tax.

Basically, you have to file an IRS Form 1040 for the previous year if your income was above a certain threshold. These thresholds are the same as for US residents.  For tax year 2020 (filing in 2021) the thresholds – total yearly income are (Source: IRS pub 54):

Status Under 65 65 or older
You are single (unmarried) $12,400 $14,050
You are married filing jointly $24,800 $26,100
You are married filing separately $5 $5
You are filing as “Head of household” $18,650 $20,300
You are a widow or widower with dependent child $24,800 $26,100

ATTENTION:

  • Are you married and are you filing a joint tax return, but you no longer live at the same address at the end of the tax year? Then a threshold of $ 5 applies
  • Are you married and are you filing a joint tax return, but you no longer live at the same address at the end of the tax year, and one or both of you are 65 or older? Then for 1 person> 65 years: a threshold of $ 26,100, and for 2 people> 65 years: a threshold of $ 27,400.

Self-employed: If your net earnings from self-employment are $400 or more, you must file a return even if your gross income is below the amount listed for your filing status in the table shown above.

Important note: Certain government subsidies such as child benefits, unemployment benefits, and subsidies are regarded by the US as reportable income that might make you reach the filing threshold.

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