Tax time for seniors can be confusing beyond the normal chaos often associated with annual dealings with the Internal Revenue Service. A common mistake seniors make with taxes is automatically assuming they don’t have to file. While tax-exempt bonds and Social Security income isn’t taxable, additional earnings may require a senior to file. Here are a few tax tips for seniors who need to file this year, presented by leading Sonoma County senior care agency, Home Care Assistance.
1. Compare Other Income with SS Income
Social Security benefits become taxable when the base amount, or half of SS income plus additional income, is greater than the limits for a senior’s filing status.
2. Take Advantage of a Higher Standard Deduction
Seniors 65 and older are entitled to a higher standard deduction. This is also true for seniors filing jointly where at least one partner is 65 or older. If one spouse is blind, the deduction is higher.
3. Check for Available Tax Credits
Taxpayers filing for the first time as seniors may overlook certain tax credits. Only applicable when using Form 1040 or 1040A, the so-called “long forms,” tax credits available to seniors include a credit for elderly or disable seniors and a small credit for low-income seniors.
4. Find Out Which Medical Expenses Are Deductible
Even with Medicare and prescription drug coverage, medical expenses for seniors can quickly accumulate. Deductible medical expenses for tax-filing seniors include:
- Portions of doctor, dentist, and hospital bills
- Prescription drug costs not covered by insurance
- Premiums for Medicare and related insurance coverage
- Prescription eyeglasses, hearing aids, and dentures
- Transportation to medical appointments
5. Understand Which Family Members May Be Dependents
Seniors caring for grandchildren for significant periods of time may be able to claim them as dependents. The same may apply to seniors providing financial support to other family members.
The IRS has a Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program available to seniors. Call the IRS directly at (888) 227-7669 for more information on this and other programs and services for senior filers.
While Home Care Assistance doesn’t offer tax help for seniors, we do offer quality senior care, including live-in, hourly, and respite care Sonoma County families count on. Learn more about our comprehensive care services by calling (707) 843.4368 and scheduling a free in-home consultation with a friendly Care Manager.