Elderly Feed

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 →


Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels For some folks, the question isn't when to file, but whether they need to do so at all. It's a legitimate issue. While most of us do have to send in a Form 1040 every year, there are some situations where the Internal Revenue Service doesn't demand filing. So just who has to file a tax return? 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 and your... Read more →


You're expecting a refund, so you're planning to file your tax return soon. Wait. You might want to take a step or two back. First, you need to make sure you have all the information you need to properly fill out your 2021 Form 1040. You can get an idea of that material in my post examining some common tax statements you need to complete your filing. Second, you need more than paperwork. You need to take a good look at your personal situation and answer some questions. The responses could affect your filing. This checklist can help. Start with... Read more →


I got my first tax statement today, a 1099 for some freelance work I did last year. That's just one of the documents that millions of taxpayers are awaiting so they can file their tax year 2021 returns. In addition to income statements, such as the 1099-NEC I got, 1099s with details on investment earnings, and W-2 forms for folks with wage-paying jobs, there are beau coup documents reporting tax-related transactions. Among the most common are forms detailing home related mortgage interest and taxes paid from escrow accounts, retirement account distributions, prize and gambling winnings, and in some cases, health... Read more →


This Thanksgiving for the first time in months (or years) families will be getting together to share and make new memories. (Photo by Photo by cottonbro from Pexels) This Thanksgiving week, many of us are seeing family for the first time in months, if not years. (Thanks, no thanks, COVID-19.) If your family members include aging parents, in addition to lots of long hugs and catching up and crying, you probably should spend some time making sure they're doing OK when you're not around. If you do find Mom and Dad could use a little, or even a lot of... Read more →


A tax credit for dependents offers a break for older children, extended family members, and even non-relatives. Thanksgiving is the traditional time for families to gather. But not all families are traditional. That's evident in real and tax life. The family-friendly tax break that's been getting most attention of late is the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the advance payments for 2021 that are going out through December. I'm guilty, as a perusal of the ol' blog quickly shows. But some families aren't eligible for the CTC, either the money being distributed now or when they file their annual tax... Read more →


Medical matters have been front and center for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even without a global health crisis, taxpayers know they need to keep an eye on not just their wellbeing, but also on how medical expenses could create a tax outcome that's healthier for the filers rather than the Internal Revenue Service. There are a variety of medical tax breaks. And several of them are adjusted each year to account for inflation. Here, in this Part 5 of the ol' blog's annual tax inflation series, is a look at those changes for the 2022... Read more →


Tax year-in and tax year-out, most filers claim the standard deduction instead of itemizing. The 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 on the first page of Form 1040. The standard deduction trend got even more participants after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 essentially doubled the standard amounts. And those now more valuable deduction amounts still usually get a boost at the end of every year... Read more →


Democrats still are looking to ease the limit on the federal tax deduction on state and local taxes, or SALT as the tax world, and now every affected state and local taxpayer, refers to it. The latest proposal is to raise the $10,000 cap imposed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to $80,000 through 2020, then revert to $10,000 in 2031. Yeah, budget machinations at work. Surpassing standard amounts: That's got some folks looking at whether it would be worth itemizing again. To opt for detailing deductions on Schedule A, you'll need to come up with enough... Read more →


This could be you in a few (or more) years. Make sure your retirement days truly turn into golden years by saving for them now. And by using tax-advantaged accounts to their fullest. If you're younger than I am, you need to be thinking about retirement. Actually, especially if you're younger than I am, you need to be thinking — and doing something — about your future retirement. You've got more time than I do (natch!) to build up your nest egg so you can retire the way you want. Being in control of your retirement is especially important nowadays.... Read more →


Rep. John Larson speaking at a press conference announcing his latest Social Security bill. Joining Larson were his Democratic colleagues (in masks behind him left to right) Reps. Terri Sewell of Alabama, Steven Horsford of Nevada, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. (Photo courtesy Office of Rep. John Larson) If you're like me, closer to your retirement date than when you started your first full-time job, you keep a close eye on Social Security. For, well, it seems like forever, we've been hearing that Social Security is going broke. The federal retirement benefits doomsday date is a bit like those... Read more →


Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels Everyone needs help now and then. That truism especially applies to filing taxes. But not everyone can afford to hire a tax professional. That's where the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs come into play. For decades, these two programs have provided free tax preparation and filing assistance during the annual filing season to millions of lower- and middle-income taxpayers, as well as elderly filers. The Internal Revenue Service just announced its financial support for 334 VITA and TCE programs in 2022. Now the agency is looking... Read more →


Free tax-preparation and filing help is offered ever tax season through groups community groups nationwide, like this Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program run by the Summit-Medina, Ohio, United Way. As the COVID-compromised 2020 and 2021 tax filing seasons demonstrated, most taxpayers needed some help to make sure they got all the tax breaks they were entitled to, as well as just file their annual returns. That need for tax assistance isn't going away, even if we do (fingers and toes tightly crossed) get to a more normal tax season next year. And volunteers who've received the Internal Revenue Service... 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 bet the biggest benefits bump in decades. Some higher earners, however, aren't so happy. That government benefits announcement also noted that the amount of income subject to payroll taxes also is going up in 2022. This amount, known as the Social Security wage base, is the maximum earnings, by both salaried workers and the self-employed, that are subject to that retirement portion of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax. In 2021, the wage base is $142,800. On Jan.... Read more →


Many Social Security recipients are celebrating the announcement that their benefits will increase in 2022. But if you get other income to help you enjoy your retirement, you could owe tax on your government benefits. There's some good news for the around 72 million people who receive Social Security benefits, either as retirees or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients (or both). The Social Security Administration announced* on Wednesday, Oct. 13, that they will see a 5.9 percent increase in their benefit checks in 2022. It's the largest increase to the government benefits, which primarily go to retirees, in nearly four... Read more →