Tax time is here again! It’s that few months of the year that the vast majority of us dread. How much of a refund will we get this year? What if we make a mistake? Do we have all the paperwork we need? What if the IRS decides to audit us? It’s a stressful time for everyone, but it can be even more so for seniors, who have to deal with issues related to retirement funds, Social Security, Medicare and more.
The best thing you can do is to step up to the plate and lend a hand when you’re needed. Discover some tips, tricks and best practices to help your elderly loved ones take care of issues related to seniors and taxes, including seeking legal help.
Seniors and Taxes
The right preparation and knowledge is important to anyone at tax time, but for seniors and taxes it can be even more so. They have different issues to track and for which to account, which means it’s vital that they get the right information together and account for everything properly. They might not understand the idea that they have to pay taxes on income that didn’t have them withheld automatically.
Keep Detailed Records
If your retired loved one is bad at record keeping, that’s the first issue that will need to be addressed. Make sure that they’re keeping up with their personal files, including 1099s for Social Security and retirement accounts, financial documents involving interest payments, investment accounts, and medical expenses throughout the year. Any paperwork involving money coming in or going out should be meticulously kept and organized. You may not need all of it, but it’s better to have it and not need it, than the other way around.
Understand Who Needs to File
Did you know that over half of all Americans who are above retirement age (65) don’t have to file a tax return? If the Adjusted Gross Income for a person is below a certain threshold—$10,750 for singles and $20,900 for married—no tax return is needed. Even better, Social Security benefits don’t count towards this AGI figure. Check the IRS website or talk to your tax professional to understand whether or not you need to file.
Many seniors have deductions and exemptions they may not be aware exist. These include elderly and disabled credits, and are available in IRS documents 2120 and 501, both available from the IRS website.
Seek Help from a Qualified Professional
The best way to make sure you get the most from your senior loved one’s filing is to contact a legal professional who is experienced and knowledgeable in the issues surrounding seniors and taxes. At Stano Law, we’ve specialized in estate planning and elder taxes for many years, and have helped many people throughout Ohio meet their financial obligations, or maximize their returns. If you have questions about helping your retired loved ones handle their tax return this year, we can help. Get in touch with us to talk about your needs today.