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Understanding Tax Breaks for Seniors

March 15 2019

Understanding Tax Breaks for SeniorsWith all the new tax laws that have taken effect, it can be challenging to learn everything you need to know as it concerns you and your tax bracket. There are so many new laws and regulations you need to keep up with when filing this year.
As of December 31, 2018, anyone over the age of 65 is entitled to a higher standard deduction than they could previously get. Filing single or as head of household at this age means an additional $1,600 to the standard deduction for 2018. If you are married and filing jointly, then you can add $1,300 for each spouse aged 65 or older.

Higher Filing Thresholds

Another change when filing your 2018 tax return is the filing threshold people 65, and older fall into. The threshold for filing a return is now much higher if you fit this age category. Single taxpayers have to file a return when their income exceeds the total amount of $12,000 throughout the year.
However, when you are 65 and older, this number increases to approximately $13,600. Also, if your income is solely from Social Security, then you don't have to include this amount in.
For filers who are married and filing jointly, the income threshold is at $25,300. Once you pass this amount of income, you will need to file an income tax return.

Social Security Benefits

Also, you may find that your social security benefits won't be considered taxable income as we slightly already touched on. If the total income from your Social Security benefits is less than $25,000 and you are filing single or head of household, then you don't have to report this as actual earned income. For those married and filing jointly, this amount goes up to $32,000.

Available Tax Credits

The Tax Credit for the elderly and disabled is one of the biggest and most advantageous tax credits you will find. As long as you are 65 or older as of January 1, you are eligible for this tax credit. If you owe the IRS, it can also clear out some of your tax liability.
When qualifying for this credit, they are basing the numbers off your adjusted gross income, not your total income amount for the year. So, the number used comes after any deductions you have on the first page of your tax return.
All these changes are definitely making the filing process a little more complicated this year. So if you are unsure of the tax breaks or deductions you qualify for as a senior, then discuss it with a tax professional to ensure you are getting the most of this year's refund for the elderly and disabled.