The deadline to submit 2020 taxes is April 15th, and while many may have already completed this task, others may not know where to begin. Depending on age and circumstances, you may have to account for deductions and exemptions, and some may not need to file at all.
So, how do you get started?
Silver Comet Village is a senior living community serving Powder Springs and Marietta, Georgia, as well as the surrounding areas. While we are not a qualified tax accountant, we do want to share some general knowledge and information on the topic. If you are helping parents or a loved one this tax season, here are few things to consider when filing taxes for a senior or an older adult.
Do My Parents Have to File This Year?
As with any age bracket, some circumstances impact whether or not a person needs to file taxes for a specific year. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS):
- If the filing status is single, and at the end of 2019, the person filing was 65 years or older, the gross* income must be at least $13,850 to file a tax return
- If the filing status is married, and at the end of 2019 both spouses [filing together] were 65 years or older, their gross* income must be at least $27,000 to file a tax return
*Per the IRS, “gross income refers to all income received in the form of money, goods, property, and services that isn't exempt from tax, including any income from sources outside the United States or from the sale of your main home (even if you can exclude part or all of it).”
If you have specific questions regarding the tax filing process for you or a member of your family, we recommend contacting a tax professional.
Prepare the Proper Documentation
If your parent(s) or loved one is 65 years or older, they can submit a Form 1040-SR as an optional alternative to using Form 1040. The schedule and instructions are the same for a Form 1040-SR or a Form 1040.
Depending on the situation, your parent(s) or loved one may need to provide documentation regarding social security benefits, W-2 form(s) or pension income, or medical issues. Gathering the appropriate documents is a crucial step to ensure taxes are prepared and filed properly.
In addition, if your parent or family member resides in a senior living community, some of those costs may be tax-deductible. This can include medical or dental expenses. To receive these deductions, proper documentation will be required by a licensed healthcare provider that outlines the level of care and services a resident receives.
If you have questions regarding senior care deductions or the proper documentation needed by you or a member of your family, we recommend contacting a tax professional.
Do Your Research
Filing taxes for a senior or an older adult can include steps or documentation that you may not be aware of. If you are helping your parents or a loved one this tax season, ask them questions regarding their previous tax filing, and do additional research.
The IRS offers a variety of resources on its website to explain the tax filing process, no matter the age bracket. Some helpful articles include:
- Tips for Seniors in Preparing Their Taxes
- Seniors & Retirees
- How Much is My Standard Deduction?
- Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
H&R Block is a tax professional that offers services to help individuals file their taxes, as well as online resources to assist throughout the process if you choose to file on your own.
- Understanding Types of Retirement Income
It’s also important to remember that rules and exemptions can change year over year. What your parents were eligible for in previous years may not be the same this year. Once again, if you have questions regarding filing a tax return for you or a member of your family, we recommend contacting a tax professional.
For more helpful information regarding the senior demographic, we encourage you to visit our Silver Comet Village blog!
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