As April 15th quickly nears, people across the county are preparing to file their taxes, with many worried about the potential financial repercussions. While some seniors don’t need to file taxes based on their annual income, many do. Knowing who is required to file and using available resources to reduce tax preparation and potential liability costs can help take some of the stress out of tax time for seniors.
How to Know If You Need to File
The IRS offers tax advice for seniors through a variety of avenues, including their website and toll free number. However, as a general rule of thumb, individuals with over $10,000 of annual income, or couples filing jointly with more than $20,000 in annual income will be required to file taxes. While these amounts increase to $11,500 for individuals aged 65 and older and $22,500 for couples aged 65 and older, there are also other variants that determine the need to file – such as any self-employment income, and the type of income that seniors receive.
For seniors with limited income, knowing if they even need to file taxes can be a looming question. However, programs like Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) is a free tax assistance and advice service operated by IRS-trained volunteers, with most sites operated by the AARP. To find a TCE site in your area, visit AARP.org or call (888) 227-7669.
While seniors who need to file can find assistance from the AARP and TCE in person, the IRS also offers a free online tax software for households with annual income under $58,000 called “Free File,” which is a great option for seniors or their caregivers comfortable filing their own taxes.
Tax Time Preparations
Getting ready to file taxes may also mean it’s time to gather bank statements, receipts and other pertinent documents. However, for seniors with mobility, vision or transportation limitations, this can be a challenging task.
One solution is to use the assistance of a well-screened home care agency using a home care software, or home care system such as ClearCare Online to manage their care to help. Caregivers are a great resource to help seniors gather and organize paperwork, as well as provide transportation to and from tax preparation appointments. For example, with transportation tasks listed in the home care software or home care system, caregivers can know when seniors have important appointments to get to and ensure they arrive safely.
The home care system and home care software can also be used for caregivers to leave notes for family members to let them know when tax-specific tasks have been completed. Via a secure family room log-in within the home care system, family caregivers near and far can then see that tax preparation appointments have been attended, or other tasks completed.
Regardless of age, taxes can be a source of stress. However, with proper preparations, the help of free resources and the assistance of a caregiver backed by a home care software or home care system to help seniors with vital tasks, tax season can be a little less cause for worry.