The minimum gross income filing requirements under North Carolina law are different from the filing requirements under the Internal Revenue Code because North Carolina law does not allow the same standard deduction amount as the Internal Revenue Code. Even if your federal gross income was less than the amount shown on the Filing Requirements Chart on Page 6 for your filing status, you must file a N.C. tax return to receive a refund if you had N.C. income tax withheld during the year.
If you were not required to file a federal income tax return, but your total gross income from all sources both inside and outside of N.C. exceeds the amount for your filing status shown in the Filing Requirements Chart on Page 6, you must complete a federal return and attach it to your N.C. income tax return to show how your federal adjusted gross income and deductions were determined.
You and your spouse must file a joint N.C. tax return if you file a joint federal income tax return and both you and your spouse were residents of N.C. or both of you had N.C. taxable income.
If you file a joint federal return and your spouse is a nonresident of N.C. and had no N.C. taxable income, you may file a joint N.C. tax return or file a N.C. tax return as married filing separately. Once you file a joint N.C. tax return, you cannot choose to file a separate N.C. tax return for that year after the due date of the return. If you choose to file the N.C. tax return as married filing separately, you must complete either a federal tax return as married filing separately reporting only your income and deductions or a schedule showing the computation of your separate income and deductions and attach it to your N.C. tax return. Note: Itemized deductions of a married couple may be claimed by a spouse only if that spouse was obligated to pay the items and actually paid the amount during the year. In the case of a joint obligation (such as mortgage interest and real estate taxes), the deduction is allowable to the spouse who actually paid the item.