Elderly Feed

Photo by Polina Zimmerman While millions are debating when to file their tax return, others are asking a more elemental question. Do I have to file a 1040 at all? It's a good question. The short answer is probably. But there are some situations where the Internal Revenue Service doesn't demand individuals file. Here's a look at just who is off the tax filing hook. Filing requirements for most of us: Generally, if you are a U.S. citizen or resident you must consider three things when determining whether you have to file a tax return: your age, your filing status,... Read more →


Every filing season, eager taxpayers, most of them expecting a refund, send their returns to the Internal Revenue Service as soon as they can. For most it works out OK. Others, however, discover on their own, or learn from the IRS, something just not quite right, and costly, on their Form 1040. It works the other way, too. In some instances, folks submit a return without claiming a tax break that would have saved them dollars. The IRS isn't going to tell you about that! The best way to make sure you enter all the data that the IRS wants,... Read more →


We're just a couple of weeks into this new year, and I've received three 1099s and a donation thank-you letter. I am not alone. Official tax forms and statements are filtering into mail boxes, both curbside and electronic, across the country. The exact tax-related documents differ from taxpayer to taxpayer, but we all share one thing. We need them in order to accurately fill out annual tax returns. They include W-2 forms for folks with wage-paying jobs, 1099-NECs for freelancers, and 1099-MISC and DIV documents for those who have investment earnings. It is, after all, called an income tax. But... Read more →


Everyone who helps fellow taxpayers, regardless of language, makes a real-life difference. So here's also a look at some of those who do that as VITA and TCE volunteers. Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash Back in October, the Internal Revenue Service announced it had awarded $41 million in grants to 348 programs that help U.S. taxpayers complete their annual federal tax returns. These groups sponsor Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs, where low-to-moderate income and elderly filers can get free tax prep help and e-filing. Even before the sites were announced, the... Read more →


Photo by Guneet Jassal on Unsplash It's December! Are you ready for all the decorating and shopping and cooking and parties and tax moves to make? Yep, tax actions need to be added to your already very long holiday to-do list. You only have 31 days to take advantage of some Internal Revenue Code provisions that could save you money. That's always a welcome gift from Uncle Sam, but especially at this time of year. Plus, if you take relevant tax steps sooner in the month, you'll also free up time for more traditional festivities. So let's get to it.... Read more →


These senior citizens celebrate their shared birthday month, if not the required traditional IRA withdrawals the big days may trigger. A QCD can help avoid tax on the mandated distributions. (Photo by Kay Bell) Most of us still have a real life, old-school, snail mail box. Every November, it is the target for the most mail of the year. Yep, the holidays are here. My curbside box is jammed with two types of correspondence, catalogs and charity solicitations. I get a kick out of thumbing through the catalogs. And yes, I even order a few (too many) things. The donation... Read more →


If you've been to a doctor recently, refilled a subscription, had to go to an emergency room, or just bought over-the-counter medications, you know that all these cost a lot more than in previous years. It's enough to make you sick, or at least nudge up your blood pressure a bit. However, the tax code might have an Rx that can help. There are a variety of medical tax breaks that can help lower your federal tax bill. Several of them are adjusted each year to account for inflation. Here, in today's Part 5 post of the ol' blog's annual... Read more →


With some tax planning now, along with some help from tax-favored accounts, you can ensure your retirement is full of smiles, love, and flowers. (Photo by RODNAE Productions) It's always a good time to start saving for your eventual retirement. The U.S. tax code helps via a variety of tax favored retirement options. And the Internal Revenue Service helps every year by making cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments that boost the amounts you can put into your post-work accounts. The tax agency today announced how much you can stash in 2023 in tax-deferred — or tax-free — retirement accounts and pension plans.... Read more →


Tax year-in and tax year-out, most filers claim the standard deduction instead of itemizing. The standard option has always been appealing because it's easy. There are no receipts to save, no added calculations. Even better, the Internal Revenue Service provides the standard amount you can claim, based on your filing status, right there at the bottom of the first page of Form 1040. The standard deduction train picked up even more passengers after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 essentially doubled the standard amounts. And those now more valuable deduction amounts are getting even better, thanks to... Read more →


The Social Security Administration (SSA) gave retirees and other recipients of the program's payments good news this week. Next year, they'll get an 8.7 percent cost-of-living increase. That's the highest in more than 40 years, and comes on the heels of this year's bump that, at the time, was the largest retirement benefits bump in decades. Some higher earners, however, aren't so happy. Today's SSA announcement also noted that the amount of income subject to payroll taxes also is going up in 2023. This amount, known as the Social Security wage base, is the maximum earnings, by both salaried workers... Read more →


Don't look now, but tax filing season is just three months away. The Internal Revenue Service is working on getting ready, both staff and system wide, for the influx of 2022 tax returns in 2023. The agency also is counting on its usual cadre of volunteers to help filers meet their tax obligations. To do that, the IRS has awarded $41 million in grants to 348 groups that support Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. Nationwide help sites: VITA and TCE sites are nationwide, and offer tax preparation and filing help to underserved... Read more →


You have lots of choices when it comes to helping your neighbors and community. There's even an option if taxes are of particular interest to you. Hey, it happens. You are, after all, reading my tax blog right now. If that's you, then the Internal Revenue Service wants you to fill up your free time by helping people prepare and file their tax returns next year. The IRS and its community partners are recruiting people to be a part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs during the coming 2023 tax season.... Read more →


Financial advice for older people also should include planning for taxes on Social Security benefits, unless a House bill to end that process passes. If you're of a certain age (confession: I am), you're likely getting lots of notices about the possible hike in 2023 of Social Security benefits. At one point, prognosticators were saying it could be as much nearly 11 percent. However, the recent easing of inflation lessens the likelihood of a double-digit percentage bump. The latest prediction is a 9.6 percent bump. Still not bad. Most folks who get Social Security benefits will welcome any increase in... Read more →


Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA Dealing with the normal ups and, too frequently of late, downs of the stock market is enough of a worry. But things can quickly go even further downhill when crooks use fake investments to defraud victims. Not surprisingly, those criminals often get greedier and try to cheat Uncle Sam, too. Such overreach, however, didn't work out well for one California man. Robert Louis Cirillo of Chino Hills pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday, June 28, to charges of defrauding investors of $3.2 million, as well as scamming an elderly man of hundreds of thousands of... Read more →


Plus, a look at when Uncle Sam gets to tax some of the federal retirement payouts he distributes. The U.S. economy might be slowing down a bit, but people still are finding jobs. May's unemployment figures, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on June 3, showed a slight increase in jobs. That kept last month's unemployment rate at 3.6 percent, just above the lowest level since December 1969. Work data for last month also showed that the jobless rate, the federal government's employment count that includes those not looking for work and those holding part-time positions for economic reasons,... Read more →


You need to follow your doctors' practice of keeping track of your medical records. Your documentation of your health care treatments and costs could pay off as valuable tax deductions. It's been a crazy couple of months for the hubby and me. In February, we headed to our local hospital's emergency room after he sustained a head injury. A month later, I apparently was too aggressive of a walker, ending up with a fracture of one of my toes. We're both healing, not as quickly as we'd like, but thankful that things weren't worse. Good podiatrist news: MRI showed fracture... Read more →


Did you turn 72 in the last half of 2021? Happy belated birthday, from me and the Internal Revenue Service. My late wishes are because I'm a nice person. The IRS' greetings, which also might be as sincere, also are because your septuagenarian milestone could mean money for the U.S. Treasury. That birthday is the deadline for taking a required minimum distribution, or RMD, from certain tax-deferred retirement savings accounts. And if you celebrated that momentous day in the last half of last year, but didn't take an RMD in 2021, then you have just a few more days to... Read more →


Before COVID-19 (remember that far back?), VITA volunteers operated in more open spaces, like here at this United Way location in Florida. The tax volunteers are still helping, but most now do so via one-on-one appointments. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented myriad challenges as far as taxes. Most notable is the backlog of tax documents the Internal Revenue Service still is working to clear. They started piling up when, as a pandemic precaution in 2020, the IRS closed most of its offices. But the coronavirus also created numerous difficulties for taxpayers just trying to send their returns to the IRS.... Read more →


Scenic overlooks, like this view of the Austin skyline from my suburban neighborhood, can be lovely. But when it comes to taxes, you don't want to overlook tax breaks. (Photo by Kay Bell) If you're like most taxpayers, when you finally decide to do your taxes, you want to get it over with as soon as possible. But don't pay a price for you haste. If you rush through filling out your Form 1040, you could cheat yourself out of some tax savings. It happens every year. Folks overlook deductions, whether they itemize on Schedule A or claim above-the-line breaks... Read more →


The standard deduction always has been appealing because it's easier. There are no receipts to collect, no Schedule A to fill out. When you add in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act's standard deduction increases, even more taxpayers saw their standard amounts exceed their itemized claims. Since you always want to use the deduction method that gives you the larger claim, using the standard deduction became a no-brainer for millions more filers. Will you join this growing group of taxpayers this filing season? To help you decide, here's a look at the standard deduction amounts that can be claimed on... Read more →